Jennings schools hire next superintendent

A career educator who currently works for the state education department said her desire to get back on the front lines of teaching is what is bringing her to Jennings County.

Teresa Brown was hired as the next superintendent of Jennings County School Corp. during a special meeting of the school board Tuesday.

She will succeed Terry Sargent, who will retire at the end of the school year, officially on June 30. Brown will assume her duties July 1.

Brown, 52, has spent 30 years in the field of education. For the last 3½ years she has been the assistant superintendent of improvement of schools for the Indiana Department of Education. Brown oversees 10 divisions, such as supporting the lowest-performing schools, college and career readiness, early learning and grant requests.

Prior to working for the state, she started as an elementary and middle school teacher, and then was a principal at various schools for 20 years.

Brown said her current role doesn’t give her time to be around students regularly — a factor in her decision to pursue the superintendent’s position.

“I missed working with a district, really having an impact on a local level,” Brown said.

Additionally, Brown said she was looking for a smaller community that was close-knit because of a positive experience she had previously in such a setting.

Other selling points Brown noted about Jennings County School Corp. was its use of dual credits to help students earn college credits while in high school, and its 1-to-1 ratio of students to electronic devices.

“When I toured the buildings and facilities, the instruction I saw in the classrooms was high quality and energizing,” Brown said.

That was important, she said, because her youngest son Max, 14, will be a freshman next school year.

“I am looking forward to relocating here. This is a nice community and I think my family will be happy and do well here. And, there are many good things happening here in the schools,” Brown said.

Her first goal, she said, is to learn the community and understand what the people here want for their schools.

“I want to form some real relationships with the community so that we can work together with respect and support of the good things already happening and decide together how to move forward in the future,” Brown said.

Brown will be working in and out of the school district during the transition period, which Sargent said he expects to be seamless.

“Teresa wants to become a part of the community and I think that is just one more reason why she is a perfect fit for the job,” said Sargent, the superintendent for the past six years.

Sargent described Brown’s hiring as exciting and a fantastic opportunity for the district.

“Teresa really does have a wealth of experience in the field of education, and she will be bringing talents we need to enable the accomplishments we have made to keep going and to make improvements in other areas as well,” Sargent said.

Teresa Brown

WHO: Next superintendent of Jennings County School Corp.

AGE: 52

EDUCATION: Manual High School; Franklin College, bachelor’s degree in education; Butler University, master’s degree, principal’s license; Indiana State University, education specialist degree, superintendent’s license; working toward doctorate at Indiana University.

BACKGROUND: Taught students in first, third, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades; principal at various school for 20 years; assistant superintendent of improvement of schools for the Indiana Department of Education for past 3 1/2 years.

RESIDES: Greenwood

FAMILY: Husband, Lee; sons, Sam (27), Max (14; daughter, Caitlyn (25); one grandson.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.