New HCCSC superintendent is familiar face in community

Photo provided.
Chad Daugherty

The Huntington County Community School Corporation has a new superintendent who is also a familiar face in the district.

The board of school trustees met in a rare Tuesday session on May 28, and got right to work approving Charles (Chad) Daugherty as the new school superintendent with a unanimous vote.

Daugherty had been serving as assistant superintendent for instruction since the 2016-17 school year and was principal of Huntington North High School prior to that. In all, he has devoted 23 years of service to HCCSC, holding more than 10 positions in the corporation beginning in 1995 as a student teacher.

He was hired in 1997 as a geography teacher and head baseball coach at HNHS, and subsequently served as an assistant principal and athletic director at Salamonie School, assistant principal and principal at Crestview Middle School, and principal at Huntington North, among his various positions, including coaching baseball, football and basketball.

Daugherty was also named Olympic Conference Baseball Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2003.

At various times he has served on the board of directors of Parkview Huntington Hospital, Youth Services Bureau, Parkview Huntington Family YMCA, United Way, Huntington University, Huntington County Baseball and Junior Achievement.

Daugherty earned a Bachelor of Science and a master’s in school administration from Ball State University. He earned an educational specialist degree from Indiana State University.

“He has been a leader in curriculum at HCCSC, was a significant contributor to our technology initiative and developed and implemented our current e-learning policy,” said Board President Mathew Roth. “This person is truly invested in HCCSC and the community of Huntington. He knows the school corporation and his community and has dedicated himself to the success of both for over 20 years … We believe he’s absolutely the right person to lead our school corporation as superintendent.”

Following the vote, Daugherty thanked the board, his family, his wife and others for their support.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve the students, parents, employees and the community of Huntington,” Daugherty said. “Being in the district for the past 23 years, I have had the pleasure of working with talented and dedicated employees who truly work to do what’s best for our students. We understand there will be challenges to overcome, but by working together we hope to transform those challenges into opportunities and growth for our district.”

Daugherty’s three-year contract begins immediately, with a base salary of $135,000, not including insurance, retirement and other benefits.

In his new role, Daugherty presented Rief Gilg as the new high school principal and Chris Baut the principal of Horace Mann Elementary School.
Nine of Gilg’s 19 years in education were spent at HNHS (2003-2012), where he served as an English teacher, dean of students and head football coach. He returns to HCCSC from having been associate principal at DeKalb High School.

Daugherty said Gilg went through an extensive interview process that involved students, parents, teachers and administrators.

“We’re very excited about the energy he brings and his work ethic,” he added. “We’re very excited to have him on board.”

Gilg earned his Bachelor of Arts from Mount Union College and his master’s in educational administration from Ball State University.

“This is an honor to be back,” Gilg said. “I’d like to think that the fact that I’m standing here with this opportunity indicates that I took advantage of the opportunities that this place gave me before. I’m passionate about the school; I’m passionate about this community. … I know the standard here is excellence.”

Baut, with 13 years of experience in education, has served as the assistant principal and athletic director of Riverview Middle School for the past two years.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Trine University and a Master of Education from Indiana University.

Daugherty said Baut has served as a special education teacher, instructional coach, coach and administrator, making a strong impression at Riverview with his positive attitude.

“We believe his strong work ethic and experiences will help him lead Horace Mann in a positive direction for the students, parents and employees,” he said.

In other business, a presentation of the state of the district’s preschool revealed a discrepancy in costs compared with what funding the program brings in.

Special Education Coordinator Beth Husband said the district received $34,535 in tuition and $211,750 from the state in the last school year in funding for preschool, for a total of $246,285. However, Husband said the cost of staff and teacher salaries was $396,489, not including transportation costs or materials and supplies.  The disparity is causing the district to find additional funding, she added.

Currently there are four teachers and five paraprofessionals, plus a speech language therapist and two speech language assistants in the preschool program.

Husband said next year, the tuition cost of preschool will go up, from $120 for five days per week to $150 for four days per week. Wednesdays will be used as a professional development day, in keeping with meeting Paths to Quality Level 3 requirements.

Next year’s preschool will also be split into two classes held at Lincoln Elementary School and two at Flint Springs Elementary School.  

Husband said future goals for the program include opening an early childhood center, providing transportation for all students, increase to a Level 4 Paths to Quality status and provide inclusive preschool to all Huntington County children.

In another presentation to the board, three Riverview teachers, Brian Abbott, BreAnne Dyer and Kelsey Knox, offered a plan to improve students’ math scores.

Daugherty said math teachers met during the fall of 2018 and took advantage of an e-learning day to work on a coordinated program he called a “grassroots approach” showing teacher leadership.

“It’s been a great learning experience for everyone involved,” he said. “What we have seen is a lot of parents and students want to take ‘high math,’ but when they get to the high school, we’re looking at statistics, we’re looking at calculus and trig. Some of those students do not want to take those classes; they would rather take a business math course. So we’re trying to educate and be able to communicate with parents and our students and these three people were able to bring it together.”

Abbott told the board that students need to be taught math as a skill that is “portable” and stays with them as they progress to higher grades.

Knox said developing solid algebra skills seems to be the goal in middle school that fills in what she called “gaps” in math learning.

“If we can build successful algebra students, that unlocks the higher level mathematics that they’ll see after algebra,” she said. “The biggest complaint from the high school? They don’t know fractions. That was like a ‘whoa’ moment to me. We’re teaching so many years, but mastery is not occurring.”

The three teachers went to each HCCSC school and talked with teachers about the math program and learned they need a streamlined focus on what math skills to teach, add more teacher training on how to teach those skills and make more resources available such as a curriculum bank and quality textbooks.

Dyer said 35 pages of notes were condensed into a one-page plan, including what skills students needed to master at each grade level. The plan will be in place for the 2019-20 school year.

“This is not going to be a quick fix for our corporation,” Dyer added. “We are looking at three to five years of just continuing to build. … We want to do this right and make sure that it sticks around.”

In action items, the board was divided 5-2 on approving the 2020-21 and 2021-2022 HCCSC calendars on their second readings, with members Reed Christiansen and Brian Warpup voting nay on both votes.

The HCCSC Calendar Committee noted the following highlights to the 2019-20 school calendar, with amendments replicated in the two following years’ calendars:

• Two eLearning Flex days added per year, in November and again in January.

• All non-conference early release dates (four) have been removed.

• February make-up days aligned to fall on Presidents Day.

• The last Friday before spring break will officially be a break day, making HCCSC spring break a six school day break.

In another agenda item, the board voted unanimously to award the bid for demolition of the Lancaster Elementary School Building to Amor Construction for $199,000.

Scott Bumgardner, assistant superintendent for business and classified staff, said there have been several requests to remove objects from the soon-to-be-demolished building. However, everything of any value has been removed and no items will be allowed to be taken out of the building by the public, he said. He noted that demolition will take place at the building as-is, and whatever is left in or around the building is there because of safety or liability concerns or exposure to asbestos. No items will be allowed to be removed by the public.