By DAVE KITCHELL
Pharos-Tribune staff writer
For a family who spends much of its time on baseball or softball diamonds, Tuesday could have been a typical day for the Nesses.
As it turned out, it was an unusual, but exceptional day. Joe Ness, the assistant baseball coach at Logansport, watched as his team no-hit the Kokomo Wildkats, notching the first no-hitter for a Logansport team in decades.
Lynne, his wife, notched the first victory by a woman in a Logansport School Board race in more than a decade, defeating incumbent Matt Gotshall. Final totals were not available from the Cass County Clerk’s Office this morning.
“I think it sends a strong message to the current board and administration that the people aren’t happy,” said Ness.
“Like I’ve said, the communication ... the citizens want more and are demanding more.”
Ness said her stock with voters probably went up after the candidate forum at McHale Performing Arts Center.
Gotshall could not be reached for comment.
Ness, who like Logansport Superintendent Jerry Thacker is a Mishawaka native, had some reaction to news that Thacker is a finalist for a superintendency there.
“He’s going to do whatever he needs to do for his career. I think what we need to do if that does happen — and I think it’s premature right now — but if it does happen, the board needs to get an interim superintendent, and once July 1 comes, that new board should start a search.”
For Ness, the election night was not one she spent in front of a television set or at the clerk’s office awaiting totals. Her daughter, Monica, had her first Cherub League softball game at West Melbourne Avenue Park. After borrowing her husband’s truck to pick up yard signs, Lynne headed to the park, listened to results on the radio station where she works, WSAL/Mix 102, and waited for the game to end.
After the game, even daughter Monica who is years away from voting realized what her mom had done.
“Mommy, you beat a boy,” Monica told her.
“I said, ‘Monica, let that be a lesson,’” Ness said.
Fiscel, a former Logansport teacher and building principal, said the vote represented a “mandate for change.” He defeated longtime inclumbent Bill Tincher.
“I take that very seriously and we’ll honor that,” he said.
As for Thacker’s possible departure?
“At this point, it’s hard to say what I think about it because obviously he hasn’t yet got that position. There are two people that are probably very well qualified for it. If that’s his decision, then I wish him the best.”
He said replacing Thacker at the top of the corporation could cause “tremendous change.”
Fiscel, who teaches at Indiana and Purdue, said he spent considerable time campaigning.
“My experience certainly didn’t hurt. All those years in the Logansport School Corporation, both as a teacher and a principal, set me up fairly attractively to a lot of people.”
Fiscel said he was not approached by teachers in the corporation, but was told his support from them was strong.
“Kids First” was the campaign slogan Fiscel used, and he said that will be his priority in the next four years.
“We appreciate the support that has obviously come my way and I will do what I can to honor my pledge which appears on my signs, and I’ve never been reluctant to say it. We’re in this business for kids. Everyone that’s involved in this profession hopefully is still interested in kids. I pledge to do everything I can to make the situation educationally as strong as I can for kids in Logansport schools.”
Tincher, who had served three terms, said life will go on for him.
“Voters vote. Let’s move on for heaven’s sake. I’m in Scouts and church. I’m a busy guy. Fiscel worked hard. He really did. He went door-to-door and he worked hard.
“We did some great things with the school corporation and I was glad I was there.”
Tincher credited Thacker for bringing progress to the schools and to the community.
“He’s been an exciting person to work with because we took a school corporation not rated very highly to one of the highest rated schools in the state of Indiana. It’s recognized by other states and in other states as one of the best bangs for the buck. The schools physically are probably in the best shape they’ve been in. I think he’s going to be sorely missed. I know there are some people that don’t like him, but I think he’s been a fantastic superintendent and brought a lot of things to our school system that would not have happened without him.”
While some people may think Thacker is overpaid, Tincher said Thacker is not relative to his performance.
“I think we got our money’s worth out of him, many times over. He’s not going to be that easy to replace. We found that out when he hired him.”
If Logansport does face a superintendent search, Tincher said he is uncertain if the search will be easier now than it was when Thacker was hired.
“Logansport has got a good reputation throughout the state. It might well be with some luck that we feed off of that and get some good people to put their applications in.”
Tincher said he does not want the corporation to revert to what it was when he took office.
“I think the town can’t afford that. We don’t want to go back to the good old boy network. That’s been going on for too long.”
Dave Kitchell may be contacted at 722-5000, Ext. 5150, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
By DAVE KITCHELL
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