There is a new Superintendent of Schools in South Bend, at least for now. The board voted unanimously Thursday to appoint Dr. Carole Schmidt to interim superintendent.
Her official first day will be July 1st. She is taking the place of current Superintendent James Kapsa who retires at the end of this month.
Schmidt is currently the Deputy Superintendent of Instructional Services at Oakland Schools in Waterford Michigan. But before that she was the Superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools. Last year in July, the Benton Harbor School Board was clouded in controversy over the way they handled Schmidt's separation from the school corporation.
Schmidt though is ready to move on and is excited to make a difference in South Bend.
She says she has watched growth from South Bend Schools over the past few years. Urban education is her passion.
She says there is great pressure on public schools right now especially in South Bend where at least 3 schools are facing a state takeover this fall. Schmidt will serve as interim superintendent for the next 6 to 12 months so she will oversee that potential transition.
"I think I will probably have a better understanding of what takeover might mean in the state of Indiana after perhaps meeting with Dr. Tony Bennett today and listening to the community forums," says Schmidt.
Schmidt planned to attend a community forum with Bennett after the school board meeting.
"I think that is going to be important for me to listen and find out what the major concerns are. I have looked at the data and you have to be careful when you look as not to jump to conclusions," says Schmidt.
School board president Roger Parent said the school board's choice was difficult choice because they had three very good candidates. But, he said, Schmidt was "a notch above the others" because of her overall experience.
She has been a superintendent at 3 other school districts including Kalamazoo and St. Joseph Public Schools.
Parent says they decided at the beginning of this search that just because the board hires someone as an interim does not mean that person will be the permanent superintendent. He says they expect to have candidates referred to the board as early as this fall.