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The Journal Gazette

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019 1:00 am

Ex-schools chief to leave state board

Former leader of NACS, SACS latest ed panel departure

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Former Allen County superintendent Steve Yager's service on the State Board of Education ends this month – the latest in a round of turnover on the panel.

He served four years after being appointed by former Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne.

Yager told The Journal Gazette that he promised to serve the full term and now is ready to move on. He has encouraged new Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, to appoint a current education practitioner.

“Even though we all had different backgrounds and strengths and weaknesses we all were child advocates,” he said. “I was most proud of that.”

Yager was superintendent at Northwest Allen County Schools from 1990 to 2009 and then at Southwest Allen County Schools from 2009 to 2014. He also previously co-chaired the Accountability System Review Panel, which helped rewrite accountability grades given to schools.

He has served as principal, school counselor and teacher. He holds five advanced degrees in education-related fields, including a doctorate in secondary school administration from Indiana State University.

Yager was a vocal member of the state board – often asking for more input on reforms to the K-12 education system.

“I don't think we involved enough practitioners in our research of initiatives and projects,” he said. “People will do anything for you if you just listen.”

Bray said he respects Yager's decision to move on and will announce his replacement to the board soon.

“I'm very thankful to Dr. Yager for his service on the SBOE. Over the years he has handled himself well on a board that often has to make difficult decisions. I truly appreciate his service to the children of Indiana, and I appreciate how he helped keep me informed concerning all the board's activities,” Bray said.

Yager is the third to leave the state Board of Education or announce his departure in recent months.

Board member Vince Bertram left in November and Gov. Eric Holcomb chose a teacher to replace him.

Also, member Gordon Hendry said last week he is resigning.

His term was set to last through June 2021. The governor will have to replace him.

“The board is fortunate to have members with strong education backgrounds – both professionally and personally – that benefit Hoosier students,” board spokeswoman Molly Deuberry Craft said. “We are grateful for the time each has committed to the Board and look forward to working with new members who will bring fresh perspectives and new ideas with the same commitment to doing what is best for students.”

Eight of the 11 state board members are governor-appointed positions. One is appointed by the Speaker of the House and another by the Senate President Pro Tem. The final member is the state superintendent of public instruction.

nkelly@jg.net