VALPARAISO | Valparaiso Community Schools Superintendent Andrew Melin is a finalist for the superintendent's job at the Greater Clark County Schools in Jeffersonville.
Greater Clark County Schools board President Christina Gilkey said Melin was chosen among 17 applicants for the position.
Gilkey said a search committee made up of School Board members, staff and community members chose Melin based on his experience at different types of school districts as well as his method of implementing a strategic plan and his involvement in the community.
Gilkey said the search committee will question Melin at a public meeting Thursday night.
Gilkey said Melin has accepted an offer of a $170,000 annual salary, a $20,000 moving stipend and $10,000 retirement annuity. That offer is pending a final School Board vote Monday.
Melin said Tuesday he was approached two months ago about the position from someone he considers a mentor.
"It was an opportunity I needed to pursue for my family," he said.
Melin, who has served two years of a three-year contract, said he has not officially resigned his position at Valparaiso. That will happen, he said, after Monday's vote by the Greater Clark County School Board.
"I value this community and this school system," Melin said. "I feel like we've been able to accomplish some good things over the years."
Melin pointed to the plan to implement full-day kindergarten, the schools' "response to instruction" initiative to meet the needs of individual students, and increased communication with parents and the community as positives during his tenure in Valparaiso. He said he is proud of the strategic plan school officials put into place with the help of the community.
"We've obviously had some challenges, too," he said.
Melin said the need to reduce expenditures by $3 million and reduce the staff was the most difficult task, but he praised the board and school administrators who were "as fair and compassionate as they could have been" given the circumstances.
Valparaiso School Board President Jim Sarkisian said he expects a "smooth and seamless transition" to hiring a new administrative staff.
The board's first priority will be to fill the No. 2 and No. 3 positions vacated by Assistant Superintendent Robert Haworth, who took a job at Elkhart Community Schools, and Stacey Schmidt, executive director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, who took a job at Porter Township schools. Sarkisian said there are internal candidates for those positions who will receive consideration.
After those positions are filled, the board plans to hire an interim superintendent who can lead the district while a search is conducted for another superintendent.
He said the board has not contacted anyone about the interim position, but board members are compiling a list of candidates. No timeline has been established for the process.
Sarkisian echoed Melin's sentiments about the progress of the schools over the past two years and wished Melin well.