'Regardless of the process, trust is just not given, trust is earned,' Haworth looking to build trust in new superintendent role

Months of searching for a new superintendent all led up to a vote at Monday night's school board meeting.

Posted: Jun 11, 2018 11:15 PM
Updated: Jun 12, 2018 9:42 AM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Months of searching for a new superintendent all led up to a vote at Monday night's school board meeting.

Board members voted unaninmously to approve the superintendent contract for Dr. Robert Haworth. This means Haworth will officially replace Dr. Danny Tanoos in July.

"Children are just out of school, teachers are out of school, I can't wait for it to get started," Haworth said.

Anxious to get work, Haworth said he realizes there is work to do. Following Monday's meeting, a lot of it has to do with establishing trust in the community.

Board Members Mel Burks and Paul Lockhart previously expressed their concerns with the superintendent selection process and transparency. During Monday's remarks, both members shared the need to rebuild trust with the community. 

Board President Jackie Lower told News 10 the biggest challenge for Haworth will be to learn Vigo County.

"We've had Danny for 20 years and he's a part of the community. He was a teacher, and then a principal and then the superintendent," Lower said, "Dr. Haworth is new to the community. He comes from a community that's similar, but yet, he needs to come to know us and what our wants are and I think that's what he plans to do."

In previous reports, and like he stated on Monday night, Haworth said the game plan in his new role will be to listen.

"I think it's about collaborating," he said, "I think it's about meeting with folks, finding out at the grassroots level, what future they want for their school corporation."

The future of three Vigo County high schools remains in limbo, as the three facilities could possibly see renovations. Haworth, who dealt with similar experiences in his previous school corporation, said it's something many school corporations continue to deal with throughout the state. 

"Everything from a state that's shrinking in size, and so how do we have 18-34 year-olds want to move into our community," he said, "So my experiences have been varied on such things as tax cap legislation and the impact they've had on school corporations. I've had experience in referendum projects in the past and petition remonstrance projects in the past, but every community is different. It all starts with the ability to sit down with just about everybody and say what do you want for the future of your schools?"

Lower credited Haworth's knowledge about Vigo County Schools as one of the qualities that makes him a good fit.

"He has done his homework on the Vigo County School Corporation," Lower said, "If we would mention something about one of our schools, he would say 'I know how many are on the free and reduced lunch,' or 'I know what the diversity issues are there', and 'I know what grade they have gotten from the state'. He has done his homework and he is very, very knowledgeable."

Haworth said within the upcoming weeks, he plans to be in Vigo County one day a week until his transition. He'll take on his new role July 1st and begin work on the 2nd.

"You start building that transparency, that transparency leads to predictability and that's what leads to trust," he said, "It doesn't start with this happening today. It's every day in the job and how you are meeting and greeting the folks that make this such a great community, great school corporation. Regardless of the process, trust is just not given, trust is earned."

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