In the words of Mr. Russell, North Newton School Board President, “It’s an exciting time for the corporation – the end of a journey.” Russell, of course, was referring to the last two administrative hires, the Principal for the Junior-Senior High School and the Superintendent. Before these new administrators were introduced, the Indian Trails Cooperative awards were presented to North Newton staff and longtime supporters: Ron DeYoung, Sabrina Tarter, and Hanford Packing.
Ron DeYoung and Sabrina Tarter work with the North Newton FFA program and were recognized for their outstanding achievement. DeYoung recommended Harry and Roxanne Hanford of Hanford Packing for the Business Partner of the Year Award. “Hanford Packing is wonderful to the school and donates time, food, and other needed items,” said DeYoung. He went on to say that the Hanfords are integral to the FFA program especially, and that it is important that their efforts and contributions are noted. The Hanfords additionally wanted to recognize a, “product of the program,” Richard Warne. Rich has been an employee for the Hanfords since he was in high school. The Hanfords credit the current and past North Newton staff who have recommended quality workers to them.
Dr. Boyd, interim Superintendent, completed the recommendations for the last two administrative positions prior to the June meeting, Mr. Coffing and Dr. Rowe. Mr. Rod Coffing is the new Principal for North Newton Junior-Senior High School. Mr. Coffing said that he feels, “fortunate to be given the opportunity to work at North Newton.” Since 2010, Coffing has been in administration, with his most recent position as the Middle School Principal at Twin Lakes. Overall, he has 26 years of experience in education. Coffing is looking forward to working with the faculty, staff, and school community of the North Newton district. He further commented on how impressed he was with the hard work from everyone toward the end of the school year. To him, that is an indication of a great school.
After much anticipation, the new superintendent was presented for approval. Dr. Cathy Rowe is excited to be the Superintendent for North Newton Schools. Rowe is currently completing her contract with Tri County where she is Principal. Before that, Rowe spent four years as the Superintendent for Frontier Schools. Dr. Rowe has roots in the North Newton area and said that being here feels like coming back home. Though she grew up in nearby Rensselaer, her step-father instilled a great pride for North Newton in her. He spoke positively about North Newton and their programs like FFA. She got so used to hearing all of the great things about North Newton that she said, “it just made sense” to come to the school as the superintendent when the opportunity arose.
Rowe additionally commented on the fact that all she has really known are small, rural schools and their communities. She spoke positively about the great things that happen in these unique places, and the powerful synergy created amongst individuals working together for a unified purpose. One of her goals is to continue the collaborative efforts in areas around the school. As Rowe put it, “small schools have to work together and share resources.” Everyone benefits with cooperative efforts. Dr. Rowe currently resides in Brookston and has three older children. She reiterated her feelings of being ‘home’ and of her joy in being part of the North Newton School System.
Standard business at the meeting concerned construction updates, financial approvals, and school activities. Renovation projects are happening at Lincoln, Lake Village, and at the Junior-Senior High School. The board approved change orders for first responder access (entry configurations) in the amount of $104, 845. Mr. Taylor requested textbook adoption for the new Human Development and Wellness Advanced Placement (AP) class. This is a dual credit class for high school students in cooperation with Ivytech. Mr. DeYoung requested three summer activity approvals for FFA functions, two at the state fair and the third at Fair Oaks Farms. The FFA will travel to Indianapolis on July 31 to help set up for the fair, and then again on August 1, to work at the FFA Building at the Indiana State Fair. At this same time, other North Newton FFA members will assist at the North American Manure Expo, held at Fair Oaks. DeYoung also encouraged people to visit the FFA food stand at the Newton County Fair in July to sample their new menu items. Fried pickles and funnel cake fries were top mentioned favorites. State FFA convention is June 17-20 at Purdue University. Aidan Wilson is competing in the Natural Resources demonstration competition. The North Newton delegation will be taking some local tours as part of their convention experience, including Biotown, in nearby Reynolds. Newton County Farm Bureau, the National FFA Foundation, and the Morocco Alumni Association all contributed to the FFA to help fund these summer learning functions.
Before the meeting concluded, Mr. Taylor talked about the exciting sports endings North Newton had this spring. The baseball team won sectionals and advanced to the regional competition. Ben Vanderwall placed 8th at the state track finals, setting a new school record with his 23’1” long jump. Mr. Taylor also thanked board members who attended the graduation ceremony. Mr. Russell, in turn, thanked Mr. Taylor for the well-coordinated program, calling it, “flawless.”