By J SWYGART
Scot Croner, who for the past four years has served as the principal at Bellmont High School, is expected to be approved next week as the Marion (Grant County) Community School district's director of secondary instruction.
Croner, who has yet to formally submit his resignation from the North Adams Community School district, said earlier this week that he has informed local school officials of his intention to accept the position. The Marion school board meets June 27 to officially approve Croner's hiring.
In his new position, Croner will be responsible for overseeing all secondary curriculum and will also lead the district through the new state-mandated teacher evaluation process.
The Marion Community School district "is much larger, and more urban" than is Bellmont, Croner said, with nearly 1,300 students in the top four grades and more than 4,000 in the district.
"It was a difficult decision" to leave the North Adams School District, Croner said. "My time here has been outstanding. I couldn't have asked for a better four years. Bellmont is a great school, with dedicated teachers and great kids. And this is an outstanding community."
Croner was named by the Indiana Association of School Principals as its District 3 High School Principal of the Year for 2010. District 3 of the IASP includes Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Stueben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.
Dr. Wylie Sirk, superintendent of North Adams Community Schools, said Croner's departure will be a significant loss for the district.
"We're going to miss him. Scot has been a big part of our whole administration team and has led the high school extremely well," said Sirk. "We wish him well, and I know he'll do well."
The process for filling the high school principal's position is already under way, the superintendent said, with a job posting listed on the school district's website. Sirk said his hope is that a principal will be in place by Aug. 1.
Sirk said a team of administrators and high school department heads will review all applications submitted for the vacancy and ultimately will make recommendations on which candidates will be interviewed.
"This is the same process we used when we hired Scot Croner and (Bellmont Middle School principal) Scott Miller, and it worked well on those occasions," said Sirk.
The superintendent believes the pool of candidates to replace Croner will be a strong one, in large part because of the reputation that Bellmont High School holds in academic circles.
"Bellmont is considered a top-notch school, and I think there will be quality candidates looking to come here. We hate to see Scot go, but I do believe the right person is out there" to replace him, Sirk said.
Before coming to Bellmont in 2008, Croner was the assistant principal at Delta High School in Delaware County. A native of North Manchester, he also previously held the vice principal's job the at the Delaware Community School Corporation in Muncie for two years. He started his teaching career as a math teacher with the Lafayette School Corporation, then spent two years as the dean of students at Fairfield Community Schools in Goshen before taking the vice principal's job at Delta.
Croner succeeded Adrian Richie as the principal at BHS after Richie accepted a similar position at Hanover Central High School in Lake County.
Croner played college basketball at Manchester College while earning his bachelor's degree in mathematics. He earned his master's degree in educational administration and his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Purdue University.
Croner, his wife and the couple's new baby, will reside in Albany, in Delaware County.