SACS looking inward for new chief
09 Mar 2021 — Journal Gazette
Ashley Sloboda

The next person to helm Southwest Allen County Schools likely will be a familiar face.

The school board has decided to pursue internal applicants for the upcoming superintendent vacancy. Phil Downs announced in January that he intends to retire Dec. 31.

No decision is more important than hiring the next district leader, board President Bradley Mills said.

"Following Dr. Downs' retirement announcement, SACS board is in agreement and will move forward interviewing internal applicants later this month," Mills said in a statement. "We are confident our internal candidates are best qualified to lead and grow the district's rich tradition of education and learning."

Looking inward for leadership isn't new for the 7,700-student district. Downs was promoted from associate superintendent to superintendent in 2014 upon the retirement of Steve Yager, who stepped into the top job in 2009.

East Allen County Schools is another district that recently promoted a central office administrator to superintendent. Marilyn Hissong was assistant superintendent of elementary education when she was tapped to succeed Ken Folks following his retirement in 2017.

Meanwhile, Fort Wayne Community Schools : one of the largest districts in Indiana with almost 30,000 students : enlisted a consultant to help with a nationwide search as Superintendent Wendy Robinson neared retirement last summer.

The monthslong process, which included public input, netted almost two dozen applicants. FWCS alumnus Mark Daniel ultimately was hired, returning to Fort Wayne from Illinois.

In 2010, Superintendent Chris Himsel came to Northwest Allen County Schools from Kokomo-Center Consolidated School Corp.

This story is provided free courtesy of The Fort Wayne Newspapers.
"SACS looking inward for new chief" Journal Gazette 09 Mar 2021: A3