Written by MICHAEL LoCICERO
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 16:20
CG-B superintendent search ends quickly after Courneene applies for job
In the end, the Cedar Grove-Belgium School Board didn’t have to look too far to find its next superintendent.
Despite a late flurry of applications, the board decided to offer middle school Principal Jeanne Courneene the position late last week.
After receiving Courneene’s application, a special board meeting Thursday, Jan. 30. The board chose Courneene rather than pursue other applicants.
“We are very happy Jeanne applied for the position. When something like this opens up, it’s natural to self-reflect and look at some of our own staff,” School Board President Chad Hoopman said. “With her experience and all the qualifications she has, she is someone the board respects tremendously for her preparedness and for what we’re looking for in the next superintendent.”
Courneene will remain principal at the middle school through the school year and begin her duties as superintendent on July 1.
She said it is important for her to stay focused on her current job.
“I am very excited for this opportunity,” Courneene said. “Before expressing interest in the superintendent position, I reflected a great deal knowing how blessed I am to be serving as the middle school principal and working with such an incredible staff.
“The staff and I have grown together over the years in our efforts in providing a high quality educational program for young adolescents. It has been a most rewarding experience.”
Hoopman said the board received about 15 applications for the position by the Jan. 31 deadline, but decided to appoint Courneene at the meeting Thursday.
The appointment is expected to be approved by the board at its Feb. 12 meeting.
“I think this says less about the quality of the applications we had than it does about both our desire to promote from within when we have a qualified applicant and it says a lot about how we value Jeanne as a candidate,” Hoopman said.
The board will now look for a new middle school principal to replace Courneene.
Hoopman said Courneene will meet with current Supt. Steve Shaw — who announced his retirement earlier in the school year — to “get up to speed on some of the elements of the district from the superintendent position.”
Courneene has been principal at the middle school for 16 years and was a middle school principal in Indiana before coming to the district.
“I have been blessed with having the opportunity to work for and with very outstanding building and district-level leaders,” Courneene said. “I was given many opportunities in my current and past administrative roles to enhance my knowledge and understanding about all facets of educational leadership.
“The variety of experiences truly opened my eyes to the vast areas of responsibility and leadership required to lead a school organization.”
She thanked Shaw for putting the district in a “most favorable position” for her first year.
“I am most grateful for his work and how he has developed such positive relationships with our kids and staff at all levels of our school district,” she said.
One of her goals in the first few months of her new role will be to “re-examine what our district’s current strengths are and what areas are in need of improvement,” Courneene said.
Hoopman said the selection process was a learning experience for him and the board.
“This is a win-win for both Jeanne and the district,” Hoopman said. “On a personal level, I learned a little about the process. With having an internal candidate, we didn’t go through the full process of selecting, but I’m very happy with the end result and I’m looking forward to the future.”