Mishawaka has a New Superintendent

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - The long search for a superintendent for School City of Mishawaka has come to an end.  On Tuesday the school board announced it had selected Dr. Terry Barker, Superintendent of Union-North School Corporation in Lakeville, to take the position.

“I’m very much looking forward to coming to School City of Mishawaka it’s a community that just has great traditions, culture and I’m looking forward to being a part of it,” Barker explained after the announcement.

School officials say they’ve made the right choice.

"I think he's a very fine administrator and an excellent person and I think he'll be a terrific fit for School City of Mishawaka," said Dan Towner, who has served as Interim Superintendent for over a year.

Barker has served as an educator since 1972.

“I’m now ready to take that next step and work in a community such as Mishawaka,” Barker explained.

In Lakeville Barker instituted policies giving students more access to computers, something he says he’ll look into for Mishawaka.  For now, he says he’s just trying to help School City move on after its long search for a Superintendent.

“To make sure that we restore confidence in the superintendent’s position and that people feel confident in my leadership, can trust me and know that they can approach me and I’ll listen,” Barker said.

Interim Superintendent Dan Towner had, at one time, been a candidate for the position but removed his name in October.  He says it was a tough decision because he’s enjoyed the work.

"It’s been busy, it's been really a really nice experience, certainly very busy," Towner described.

Towner says it will be some time before Barker can lay out plans for the future, he’ll work with staff to get to know the district first.

“We’re certainly aware of areas that we need to improve to do a better job and so we work towards those goals,” explained Towner.

The search for a new superintendent has gone on for over a year.  In March the board named Steven Disney to the position, but he resigned before he could start.

"It was kind of let down when all this happened last spring, I'll be quite honest with you," described Jerome Calderone, Principal of Mishawaka High School.

But, Calderone and his staff are excited to work with Dr. Barker.

"I’m sure he's eager and ready to go," said Calderone.

Being without a permanent Superintendent for over a year meant extra work for Dan Towner and other administrative staff.  But, Calderone says it didn’t affect school operations.

"Things ran exceptionally well with Dan in charge," he explained.

School officials expect things to keep running well under Dr. Barker, who said he’s enthusiastic about working in Mishawaka.

“The size of the community, the size of the town, the school, the relationship between the school and the community,” Barker explained.  “There’s, I think, a real cohesiveness with everybody involved.”

Dr. Barker will start as superintendent of School City of Mishawaka on October 3rd, in the meantime he’s helping Union-North in their search for a new Superintendent.

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