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Griffith board

John Dudlicek is sworn in as Griffith Public Schools' newest board member Wednesday. Dudlicek previously served on the board from 2010 to 2014.

GRIFFITH — John Dudlicek was named to the Griffith school board Wednesday night and will replace Gary Sutton, the board's former president who resigned earlier this month.

Dudlicek, vice president of Grimmer Construction Inc. in Highland, is a returning Griffith School Board member, having served from 2010 to 2014.

In his interview during the board meeting Wednesday night, Dudlicek named high student achievement and workplace readiness among his top priorities. He decided to return to the board, he said, as a part of his lifelong commitment to serving his community.

Dudlicek is a volunteer for the Griffith robotics team and sits on the Griffith Parks and Recreation Board.

The 20-year Griffith resident was selected from five candidates — all interviewed Wednesday night.

All candidates expressed a desire to improve communication among school administrators and the community.

"In order for a school corporation to be successful, it’s got to know where it’s going, it’s got to know what it’s direction is," Dudlicek said. "The most important thing we can do is create a positive environment for our administrators and our communities."

Griffith board members said during the interviews they were searching for a candidate who could both bring both a willingness to work with other board members and financial experience to the district which cut more than a dozen staff positions this spring as a result of declines in enrollment and an anticipated decrease in state funding.

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"I don’t want somebody coming in that’s got a pre-set agenda or ax to grind or anything like that,” Assistant Secretary Don McCarter said. “I want somebody coming in that’s above board and honest and willing to work the rest of us to get work done for the kids.”

Sutton, the board’s former president, provided his resignation Aug. 9, telling The Times he was leaving for health reasons.

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The school board began accepting letters of interest soon after, and board member Jennifer Dildine served as president in the interim.

The board voted Wednesday to keep Dildine as its president.

Dildine and Dudlicek’s board positions will be up for re-election in 2020.

“I will run in the election in 2020 if I believe I am the best thing for this board,” Dudlicek said.

Dudlicek said his focus now is to both focus on student success and do some listening to learn to needs of the community and how to attract more students to the district.

“If you look at the history of Griffith Public Schools, I think most of all you probably see sports. I really would like it for that same identity to be on academic,” Dudicek said. “There’s no small visions in my opinion.”

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Education Reporter

Carley Lanich covers education in Lake County and throughout the Region. She comes to Northwest Indiana from Indianapolis and is an IU-Bloomington grad.