William H. Schad says that he and his wife, formerly Penny Smith, a Brazil native, have always intended to retire here, but they're "just here a little early," as he was recently hired as the new superintendent of the Clay Community Schools Corporation. In fact, they have owned a house here since 1976.
Their older daughter, Greta, a University of Southern Mississippi graduate, is married and living in Cicero, Ind., and their younger daughter, Tisha, will be a senior at Indiana State University in the fall. Penny has worked at the Brazil Public Library Annex for several years, so adjusting to the move should not be too difficult.
Schad grew up in Dugger, Ind., where he graduated high school, prior to attending ISU. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1970 and completed his master's in biology in 1976 at the institution. In the meantime, he began his teaching career in the North Putnam Schools District. He taught elementary school there for 10 years before becoming the principal of Roachdale Elementary in 1980.
In 1983, he took over duties as principal of North Putnam High School, which was then a junior and senior high. He spent six-and-a-half years in that position, but then he made another career advancement.
He became the superintendent in Shoals, located about eight miles east of Loogootee and 15 miles south of Bloomfield, Ind., where he stayed for five years. Because his wife was anxious to "get back to this end of the state", Schad then pursued an employment opportunity in the Southwest Parke School District. He was superintendent there for eight years before Dr. Thomas Rohr left Clay Community Schools, creating the opening that Schad promptly filled.
Indeed, he admits this was "a fairly quick process compared to a lot of jobs I've had." He remembers that the university sent out applications around May and he quickly gathered and sent the proper materials. He soon underwent an initial interview and then a second before he was offered the position.
Schad's interest in applying was at least partially based on his wife's ties to the area. However, he also says he knew that Clay County has "good schools and good faculty" and he is looking forward to "the opportunity to work with them."
Another aspect that attracted Schad to this school system might have made other potential applicants shy away. He was "looking for the challenge."
"Things unique to Clay County" intrigued him, including the fact that the Clay Community Schools budget is projected to be about $500,000 "in the red" by the end of 2005.
This means that Shad definitely has his work cut out for him, but he seems confident in the face of the dire financial situation, which he describes as "the only major thing that needs attention." Of course, he only started his endeavors here on July 1 and he does not intend to make any substantial changes, at least for three or four months.
Instead, he hopes to use this time to observe and assess his surroundings. Number one on his agenda is a work session with the School Board of Trustees, in which he hopes to get a feel for how they generally operate. Then he plans to focus on "ways to save that half million."
Although most school programs have been kept "in tact" thus far, Schad has already determined that some "will suffer eventually." He regrettably adds that "there are going to be some real tough decisions for this board to make."
The lack of funds will likely "color" some hiring decisions. He claims that he will always make every effort to hire the best possible candidate for a position. Still, if a choice must be made between a qualified teacher "with 10 to 12 years experience" and someone straight out of college in whom he sees potential, he feels he will probably have to choose the latter.
He predicts there "will be serious cuts" and that it "will not be a pleasant time," but he is prepared to do whatever he and the board feel necessary when the day comes. He calmly sums up the situation in saying, "People will be expecting paychecks and without cuts, they won't be getting them."