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School board chooses new superintendent for South Bend Schools

The South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees announced their pick for the new superintendent.

They chose Dr. Kenneth Spells, the current superintendent for Alton Schools in Illinois

The announcement was made during a press conference Friday afternoon.

In a phone interview, he told ABC 57 he’s "battle-proven" and is committed to taking on the issues ahead of him.

That attitude is a part of the reason why the board chose him.

“He has a demeanor and I think the public probably saw this, he’s calm under pressure and we need that,” said trustee Stan Wruble.

This board believes it will take a level head to balance the challenges before the district.

“We have stressful situations in our schools we’re dealing with budgetary issues from Indianapolis, we’re dealing with a lot of challenges from property tax caps, and we’re dealing with declining enrollment,” said Wruble. “Dr. Spells  embraces those challenges, he’s not afraid of them.”

Spells echoed that confidence during his public interview last Thursday.

“I’m a problem solver, I’m a superintendent that knows how to get things done,” he told the school board.

And reassured his capabilities during a phone conversation with ABC 57 Friday.

“I’m going to come in and hit the ground running,” said Spells. “My main thing is I want to make sure our students are competitive when they go to college,  I want to make sure they have opportunities and I want to make sure they have big dreams and dream big.”

That commitment students encourages the school board.

And they look forward to working with him to change the image of the district for the better.

“We have to go into a good marketing plan to tell our story,” said Maritza Robles, School Board Vice President.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a statement about the new superintendent.

I am pleased to hear that the School Board leadership has reached a recommendation for Superintendent. I met with Dr. Spells during his visit to South Bend and was impressed by his energy, intellect, and experience. Strong leadership in our schools will be key to our city’s growth and future, and I am looking forward to building on this administration’s partnership with the South Bend Community School Corporation.

Click here to read the summary of the proposed contract/notice of public meeting.

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