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Dr. Theodore Stevens officially hired as new School City of Mishawaka superintendent

School City of Mishawaka Superintendent Dr. Theodore Stevens answers questions from media after officially being hired on Thursday, June 9.
Mishawaka Network
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Screenshot of YouTube
School City of Mishawaka Superintendent Dr. Theodore Stevens answers questions from media after officially being hired on Thursday, June 9.

The School City of Mishawaka has a new superintendent after the school board officially approved the contract for Dr. Theodore Stevens Thursday.

Former superintendent Wayne Barker officially stepped down on Wednesday, after announcing last month that he would be leaving to serve as superintendent for Northwest Allen County Schools in Fort Wayne, where he first started teaching.

Stevens previously served as the principal of LaSalle Elementary from 2013 to 2015. He then worked as the district’s director of assessment, high ability programs and technology and served as an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

He left Mishawaka in 2018 to become superintendent of the South Central Community School Corporation in LaPorte County. Stevens said he left to gain some experience as a superintendent — and that it was great — but he’s excited to be back in Mishawaka.

“At this point in my life and my career, it’s about where I feel I can make the largest impact in a positive way, and that’s part of the reason I want to come back to School City,” he said.

Stevens grew up in Logansport but said Mishawaka has treated him as one of their own.

“When the announcement was made public that I’d potentially be returning to SCM, I was amazed at how many people had my cell phone number, and they reached out with sincere gratitude about my return,” he said. “My parents always said if you were a good worker, you’ll be asked to return — which is the ultimate compliment.”

As superintendent, Stevens said his first priorities are getting up to speed on what he’s missed over the last four years and starting to build the case for an upcoming Mishawaka schools referendum.

At the end of the meeting, Stevens’s four children gave the school board fresh eggs from his family farm as a thank-you present.

It was also the last official appearance of Mishawaka School Board Vice President Amanda Roberts, who is leaving to pursue a new position in Indianapolis later this month.

“My last hurrah is hiring you, and I’m going to step out, but I’m excited to see what you do for the school corporation,” Roberts said Thursday.

She was appointed by the Mishawaka Common Council in late 2017 and served on the board’s finance/audit committee.

The Mishawaka Common Council will be accepting applications for Roberts’ replacement until noon on Friday, June 24.

Applications are available in the city clerk’s office and on the city’s website. All applications must be physically delivered or emailed to the city clerk by the deadline.

Council President Gregg Hixenbaugh said Wednesday that the council intends to hold public interviews with candidates at 6 p.m. on June 27 and 29 in the city council chambers.

He said the council aims to announce the appointment at its July 5 meeting, allowing the school board to swear in the new member at its meeting July 13.

“Our goal was to have a process that was open and available to people so that we could solicit the maximum number of applications, but still move forward in a prudent fashion so that we could avoid a gap in membership on the board,” Hixenbaugh said.

During the Wednesday meeting, Barker thanked the board for its cooperation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which dominated his three-year tenure as superintendent.

“We haven’t always agreed, and we shouldn’t always agree — that’s part of this process,” he said. “But you’ve stayed united, and you’ve not allowed any wedges to get built that someone could use to divide this community.”

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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