by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — WINAMAC — The Eastern Pulaski Community School board on Tuesday voted to hire Dan Foster, currently superintendent of Caston School Corp. in Fulton, to fill its empty superintendent’s position.
Foster resigned from Caston at that school’s board meeting Tuesday night, as well. He’ll officially leave the school corporation at the end of the school day Friday, then starts Monday at Eastern Pulaski Community Schools.
He’ll succeed Robert Klitzman, the 26-year Eastern Pulaski superintendent who announced in March he’d be retiring. An Eastern Pulaski board member characterized the move as a homecoming for Foster, who had begun his administrative career at Winamac.
Out of 15 applicants, six of whom were interviewed for the position, Foster stood out for his focus and his local connection, Larry Beach said.
“He had been in our corporation as an assistant principal at the high school,” said Beach, secretary of the Eastern Pulaski school board. “His priority is kids and that’s what our priority is. He’s, we thought, an excellent candidate.”
“He started his administrative career... and he’s coming home,” Beach said. “We’re just very happy to have him and looking forward to our continued success.”
Foster had delved into school administration in 2004 when he started as assistant principal of Winamac High School. After three years there, he took over the principal’s chair at Caston High School in 2007, then the following year was appointed Caston’s superintendent after the retirement of former superintendent Bob Huffman.
“It was not a no-brainer decision” to leave Caston this fall, said Foster on Thursday. “I really had to think about it.”
He explained he had spent six years with the school corporation, helping see it through several changes. “To leave in the middle of some of that — you know, that’s not easy. You want to stay there, you want to see things finish out.”
However, Foster said the move to Winamac was “a pretty natural transition.”
He and his family still reside in Star City within Eastern Pulaski’s borders. “It’s obviously a very good school corporation,” he said. “It’s a very good opportunity to come full circle, to come back home, so to speak.”
After Foster leaves Caston on Friday, his position will be temporarily filled by former Caston superintendent Iran Floyd, who since his retirement has served several stints as interim superintendent for various school corporations. He was Caston superintendent from 1974 to 1984 and was interim superintendent immediately before Foster assumed the permanent position at Caston five years ago.
Jason Herd, president of the Caston school board, said Foster’s initial notification of his resignation had surprised him.
“He had notified us prior to Tuesday night,” when the board officially voted to accept his resignation, Herd said, “but going back to when he notified us... I’m not going to speak for the rest of the board, but I was relatively surprised and disapppointed.
“Obviously [I’m] happy for him, he has roots there, but disappointed that Caston’s losing a very good leader,” Herd said.
The Caston school board will begin a search for a permanent superintendent “as soon as possible,” Herd said.
“I know that the board will be doing some research on different ways to fill that position,” he added. Some on the board are interested in checking out whether Caston would be a good fit for a part-time superintendency, explained Herd. “We’ll just have to decide which direction the board wants to go.”
He said board members’ farewells to Foster on Tuesday were “all positive.”
“Eastern Pulaski Schools is getting an extremely hardworking individual,” Herd said, and “is very fortunate to have him.”
Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5151.