Indiana State University Newsroom

Alumni honored as Superintendents of the Year

October 13, 2016

Recently at the joint conference with the Indiana School Board Association and the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS) announced the District Superintendents of 2016 and the 2016 Indiana Superintendent of the Year. At the district level, recipients were selected by other superintendents in their district who consider the qualifications and accomplishments of area colleagues and their instructional leadership. Five of the eight superintendents are alumni of the Indiana State University's department of educational leadership and took part in the superintendent training program. Chris Himsel was named the Indiana Superintendent of the Year and District Superintendents of the Year are Scott Hanback, John Hunter, Tracy Lorey and Rob Moorhead.

Chris Himsel, '90 and G ‘04, is the current superintendent of Northwest Allen County Schools and was chosen Indiana Superintendent of the Year by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents. When Himsel became superintendent of Northwest Allen County Schools in 2010, the district faced the prospect of a $6 million deficit - or about 18 percent of the general fund budget. In the same year, Indiana's property tax caps were fully implemented, causing the district to lose about 40 percent of its property tax operating revenue. The district reduced staffing, implemented pay cuts, deferred building maintenance and other expenditures, and fully implemented a two-tier busing system that reduced the number of school buses and bus drivers needed to serve an increasing enrollment. With these spending cuts, recent funding increases appropriated by the state legislature, and refinancing bonds, the district has been able to restore 20 of the eliminated positions, accomplish some of the deferred capital projects and provide cost-of-living increases. Northwest Allen County Schools implemented a one-to-one computing project in the fall of 2016 to give all students in grades 6-12 access to a laptop computer.

Himsel serves on the Northeast Indiana Regional Board of Trustees for Ivy Tech State College and is on the legislative committee for the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents.

He earned his bachelor's degree and educational specialist degree from Indiana State and a master's degree from Butler University. He served as superintendent of Kokomo Center Schools from 2008 to 2010. Himsel is presently completing his Ph.D. with Indiana State. Himsel became a finalist for Indiana Superintendent of the Year by first being selected District II winner. He will now represent Indiana in the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year program.

Scott D. Hanback, Ph.D. ‘ 02, is the superintendent of Tippecanoe School Corporation and named 2017 Superintendent of the Year for District IV. Hanback has served as Tippecanoe superintendent since 2008. In 2010, Tippecanoe School Corporation, like many Indiana districts, faced massive funding cuts and was forced to make budget reductions and lay off staff. Hanback and the school board made it a priority to communicate with community stakeholders about priorities, using the input to create a plan that would eventually "right the ship" to avoid yearly staff reductions. The expense reductions, coupled with enrollment growth and a recovering economy, have allowed the district to rehire staff, reinstate programs and bring class sizes back to acceptable levels.

Hanback graduated from Taylor University, earned a master of science from Purdue University before completing his Ph.D. from Indiana State. He previously served as superintendent of the Metropolitan School District of Wabash County from 2005 to 2008. He is chairman of the Ivy Tech Community College Regional Board of Trustees and has served as president of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents. This is Hanback's second time to be District IV Superintendent of the Year. He also won that honor in 2013.

John Hunter, '84 and G '04, is the superintendent of Union Township School Corporation and was chosen as the 2017 District I Superintendent of the Year. Hunter has been Union Township superintendent since 2005. Per-pupil funding in Union Township has fallen from $5,168 to $4,967 in the past eight years. In 2010, the district was forced to cut its budget by $350,000. Under Hunter's leadership the district reduced spending and passed a referendum for additional operating funds in 2013 by a 58 to 42 percent margin. In the past two years, the district increased its cash balance from 4 percent to 10 percent. Despite funding reductions and conservative spending the district has increased electives for high school students by offering classes eligible for vocational funding, added counseling and art teaching staff and maintained lower class sizes at the elementary level.

Hunter is a member of Kiwanis International, is president of the Porter County Insurance Trust, and is chair of the Northwest Indiana Superintendents' Study Council. Hunter earned his bachelor's and education specialist degrees from Indiana State and a master's degree from Indiana University.

Tracy Lorey, G' 98, Ph.D. '05, is the superintendent of Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools and was named 2017 Superintendent of the Year for District VII. Lorey has been superintendent since 2012, and previously served the district as a teacher, principal and curriculum director. Lorey graduated from the University of Southern Indiana and earned a master's degree before completing her Ph.D. from Indiana State.

Rob Moorhead, G ‘11, is the superintendent of South Ripley Community School Corporation and was named 2017 Superintendent of the Year for District VIII. Moorhead has been South Ripley C.S.C. superintendent since 2012. The district has remained committed to providing quality educational programs for students despite the decline in state financial support. When Moorhead became superintendent, the district had just experienced a collapse of its entire technology network, losing data and eroding employees' confidence in using technology. The technology system has been rebuilt, and the district has since implemented a one-to-one computer program for students in grades K through 12. Moorhead also led the creation of the Ripley County Alternative to Suspension program that serves four small school districts. The county school districts have also established relationships to share academic programs, with South Ripley hosting a biomedical sciences program and other districts hosting an engineering academy and an Advanced Placement science program. Moorhead also worked with Ivy Tech to create dual-enrollment opportunities at Ivy Tech for South Ripley students during the school day. South Ripley C.S.C. has been an "A" rated school district for the past four years and its junior high school has been a Four Star School each of those four years.

Moorhead is a graduate of Hanover College and earned post-graduate degrees from Xavier University and Indiana State. He is a member of many community activities, including the Dearborn County Hospital board of directors, the Economic Opportunities Through Education Action Team, the Ripley County Community Corrections Advisory Board and the Southeastern Indiana School Insurance Consortium Board of Directors.

Contact: Terry McDaniel, associate professor, department of educational leadership,