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December 18, 2012

Galveston principal to lead Southeastern schools

Plan calls for a 6-month transition period

WALTON — The Southeastern school board formally voted Monday to name the principal of Galveston Elementary School as its new superintendent.

Trudie Hedrick will assume her new post next summer. Before that, though, she’ll be working with the current superintendent, Dr. John Bevan.

“I’m pretty excited,” Hedrick said in a telephone interview Monday. “I can’t wait to get to work with Dr. Bevan in learning everything I need to learn.”

She noted that Bevan had already taught her a lot.

“He’s been a mentor for the last five years,” she said.

Hedrick has been the Galveston principal since 2008.

“As such, she is already quite familiar with Southeastern,” Bevan said in a news release announcing the selection. “She is dynamic, articulate and highly organized. She was one of the architects of Southeastern’s grade-level reconfiguration several years ago, has been active in developing the new teacher evaluation process and is a curriculum and technology leader.”

Hedrick said she hoped to carry on the proud traditions of Southeastern schools.

“We might even find a few new ones to start,” she said.

She praised the community involvement at Southeastern, something she said was critical for a school corporation to achieve success.

Hedrick’s selection culminates a process that had been under way since spring. By the time Bevan announced in September that he would be stepping down at the end of the school year, the board had been preparing for the announcement for several months. The board had held a retreat in May to clarify its priorities and fine tune its vision for the sort of superintendent it wanted.

Ian Jay, the school board president, noted that the board’s search produced 11 candidates. A consultant, Administrator Assistance, screened the candidates, and by late October, the board had narrowed the field to six. Eventually, the board brought in two finalists, along with their spouses.

“We had many good candidates,” Jay said, “but Mrs. Hedrick came to the top of the list.”

Jay said Hedrick had the clearest vision for the school corporation and the best understanding of the issues it faced. He said the board especially valued Hedrick’s long-term commitment to the school corporation.

“We had some really good candidates who made clear to us that for them, Southeastern would be a stepping stone,” Jay said. “We wanted someone who was committed to Southeastern.”

Jay stressed, though, that Hedrick’s selection had not been pre-ordained.

“She was one of six candidates we interviewed,” he said. “We still had two candidates in late November.”

Jay said Hedrick would earn $105,000 a year in her new post, slightly more than Bevan’s current salary. Other benefits, Jay said, are “very similar” to the package offered to Bevan.

Hedrick confirmed that she would like to remain at Southeastern for the rest of her career.

“I would love nothing more,” she said.

Not a lot of people know it, Hedrick said, but she has a historical tie to the community.

“My grandmother graduated from Galveston High School in 1935,” she said.

Though she grew up in Carroll County, she said, she still feels that link.

“It feels like I’ve come home,” she said.

Hedrick said her No. 1 goal would be to increase the amount of technology available to students in the classroom. The school corporation’s current policy is to allow students to bring their own electronic devices to the classroom, but Hedrick noted that some students did not have access to those devices. She acknowledged that any investment in technology would require the support of the school board and the community.

“I would like to have it happen in the next two years,” she said.

Hedrick has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Purdue University and a master’s degree in mid-management from West Texas A&M University, and she is currently working on a doctoral degree at Ball State University.

She and her husband, Jim, have been married for 35 years and have five children. The eldest is 33, and the youngest is a senior at Lewis Cass.

Bevan said he was pleased by Hedrick’s selection.

“She’s close to me philosophically. but she has a greater background in curriculum and technology,” he said. “She believes in a comprehensive school program with the value of the arts and vocational education.”  

Bevan is critical of what he sees as an unhealthy emphasis on reading and math to the exclusion of the arts and other subjects.

“Neither she nor I believe you should exclude the other things,” Bevan said.

Hedrick formally starts her new duties July 1.

“One of the strengths of this decision is that it gives us six months for the two of us to work together,” Bevan said.  

During that interim period, he said, Hedrick will be juggling two roles.

“She’s going to be a busy lady,” he said.

  • Caitlin Huston contributed to this report.

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