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New MCCSC Superintendent Sees COVID Issues As Crucial

Dr. Jeff Hauswald

New MCCSC Superintendent Jeff Hauswald. (Courtesy Photo)

New MCCSC Superintendent Jeff Hauswald does not start his job until July 1. He knows that many people with a stake in public education have questions about his plans for leading the Monroe County Community School Corp., but he just does not have many specific answers to give them.

“I’m in the process of having conversations to specifically identify the priorities and to work with the board of school trustees,” he said. “We’re having a lot of meetings with district level administrators who have different areas of expertise. … Also, I am spending a significant amount of time in every one of our schools. And as part of that time, I am meeting with student representatives and meeting with teachers and meeting with families.”  

Hauswald was hired as the Kokomo School Corporation superintendent in 2010. He said after about a decade, he began thinking about looking for a new opportunity, ideally in a progressive community.

“When the Bloomington MCCSC job became open, I saw that it met that criteria,” he said.  

During his career in public education, Hauswald has also been a math teacher, elementary school principal, athletic director and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.  

So when you look at those experiences, and growing up as a student that attended public education, and background that I bring, I felt like MCCSC was a good fit,” he said.  

He will replace Superintendent Judith DeMuth, who is retiring. Hauswald’s contract at MCCSC was approved for three years, and the initial base salary will be $209,500 with increases based on evaluations. 

The most immediate issue Hauswald will face is pandemic recovery.  

“We have people who have experienced this traumatic event of a pandemic in different ways,” he said.  

He said schools should prioritize the social and emotional needs of students in response to all the losses the past year has brought. He also said he wants to close the achievement gap that’s only widened because of the pandemic, and MCCSC officials will begin gathering data on this gap. 

Diversity is also important to Hauswald, and he said he will work with human resources and administrators to create a more diverse staff.  

“We have a charge and a challenge to make sure that our staff members are reflective of the students that we serve,” he said.  

School funding is also on Hauswald’s mind. He knows MCCSC has operated under two voter-approved referenda that added millions of dollars to school spending over the past 12 years, and fiscal challenges may come up in 2023. He’s concerned about how funding may affect teaching staff.  

“Indiana teachers are the lowest paid of all bordering states, and one of the lowest paid in the entire Midwest,” he said. “We have a clear responsibility to advocate for the funding necessary to hire the qualified teachers and the quality teachers that we need.”  

Hauswald said it’s too early to talk in specifics about whether there’s a need to redistrict MCCSC schools, but he believes the issue relates to something broader.  But he said he expects a major conversation about equity and how the corporation makes sure services, teaching and access for students is equitable. 

“How do we make sure that our graduation data, the percent of students that are in college preparatory courses or are identified for high ability courses, are reflective of the demographics, particularly our marginalized population?” he asked.  

Hauswald said he’s working about one day per week transitioning to his role at MCCSC, and he’s excited to get started full time. 

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