October 20 – Daniel Hile named IAPSS Superintendent of the Year for District II | Fwbusiness
INDIANAPOLIS – Daniel Hile, Superintendent of Smith-Green Community Schools in Churubusco, has been selected by members of the Indiana Public School Superintendents Association as District II Superintendent of the Year for 2022.
Winners are selected by other superintendents in their district who assess the nominees for their leadership, communications, professionalism and community involvement.
Hile has served as the Superintendent of Smith-Green Community Schools since 2017, having served the district as a teacher, vice-principal and principal.
The district was in financial deficit when Hile became superintendent, and the quality of student programs and staff support was in decline. District leaders decided the only way forward was to ask the community to vote in a referendum to authorize additional operating funds. Hile spent her first year as superintendent engaging with the community to share facts about the district’s finances and gain support in bringing the district back to financial solvency.
Following several community meetings and fact-gathering sessions, many hours of outreach and communication, and the development of a common vision for the future, the community finally approved the referendum. Although the approved referendum allows the district to use an additional tax rate of up to $ 0.628, the district used a rate of $ 0.33 for the first two years and $ 0.0294 for the current year, easing the burden on taxpayers.
Referendum funding was used to increase the professional development needed and required to better prepare teachers to meet the needs of students. The district also improved salaries and benefits to improve staff retention and morale. The additional funding has enabled the district to restore its cash balances, ensuring that the district is financially sound and prepared for possible emergencies. With the school corporation’s financial future secure, the district was then able to focus on transforming schools to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of its students.
As a result of the conversations and comments received through the referendum process and other experiences, Hile remains committed to maintaining ongoing communication and transparency with the community, in all areas. The district has developed a financial transparency dashboard on its website, allowing community members to review financial data and see how the district is spending the various funds it receives. In addition, the school corporation uses various communication strategies to keep families informed, including frequent videos to cover important topics and share timely updates.
Hile is a strong advocate for public education and is actively involved with local, state and national leaders. He has met with various lawmakers and testified at the Indiana Statehouse on a variety of topics, and has also traveled to Washington, DC to advocate for the children of Indiana. This advocacy has taken on new urgency and importance during the ongoing pandemic, as unique stresses and needs have developed not only for students, but also for school staff and families.
Hile graduated from Indiana University with a BA in Music Education, received her Masters in Educational Administration from Indiana University-Fort Wayne, and her PhD. in Educational Leadership from Purdue University.
Hile is a member of the Educational Leadership and Political Studies Advisory Board at Purdue University and chairs the Upper Wabash Valley Superintendents Study Council. He is also a member of the governing board of the American Association of School Administrators and sits on the board of directors of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents.