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Community reacts to announcement of South Bend Community School Superintendent stepping down

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – South Bend Community School Corporation is working to create a smooth transition as Dr. Kenneth Spells announced he will step down as superintendent at the end of the school year, despite being offered a two year extension from the school board. 

"Of course we wanted him to stay, and we'd love him to stay,” said John Anella, the vice president of SBCSC board of trustees. “I keep telling him he can change his mind, but he's going to move on and we'll move on and we'll be just fine. Like he said, we've got a lot of talent; we're doing a lot better than we were two years ago and as long as the needle is moving forward we're going to do great.”

Dr. Spells will move to Illinois to serve as superintendent of Hazel Crest School District near Chicago. He says it’s a position that fell in his lap and will allow him to pursue “other ambitions” that he has. 

The surprise announcement Thursday left many in the community shocked and saddened. 

"We lost a really good superintendent,” said Leslie Wesley, District 3 school board member, “a really good icon here in South Bend, a really good leader."

“It’s hard to replace a leader like Spells,” said Samuel Brown, who lives in South Bend. 

But now the school district will have to find a permanent replacement. Through the end of Dr. Spells’ contract, the school board has appointed Dr. Todd Cummings as deputy superintendent. 

As the school district braces for change, many are hoping to continue the progress that Dr. Spells made, including his efforts to restructure the district with Focus 2018. 

But some say there are still many improvements to be made. 

"Anything could help South Bend Community School Corporation,” said Dena Williams, a former South Bend student. “I think that we are underfunded, that our teachers are overworked, and if that's something that a new superintendent can help change, that would be the best for our community."

Dr. Spells says he will miss the South Bend community. He is encouraging families to stay positive as these changes go into effect. 

"This is a great place to be,” he said. “I'm going to continue to stress that until my last day." 

His last day will be June 30, 2019.

 

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