The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, May 18, 2022 1:00 am

NACS moving to name next chief

Ex- district teacher top candidate to be superintendent

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Northwest Allen County Schools is poised to welcome back a former teacher as its new superintendent, pending board approval in June.

Ron Felger, board president, on Tuesday identified Wayne Barker as his top candidate to lead the 8,000-student district.

Barker would return to NACS with experience leading two smaller school systems – Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District, which has less than 2,000 students, and School City of Mishawaka, which has almost 5,300 students.

“Mr. Barker's experience and history of successful leadership at the building and district level give me confidence in his ability to guide us forward,” Felger said in a statement.

Felger said he plans to introduce a motion seeking to offer Barker a superintendent contract as soon as possible. Barker would replace longtime Superintendent Chris Himsel, who has been on medical leave for undisclosed reasons since December and is scheduled to retire June 30.

“I'm confident that this resolution will receive overwhelming support from our board,” Felger said.

NACS first hired Barker in 1989 as a business teacher at Carroll High School, where he taught and coached for five years, a news release said. Barker then worked at Bluffton-Harrison for 24 years, the last 10 of which as superintendent.

He left for Mishawaka in 2019.

The Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents named Barker the 2023 Superintendent of the Year for District II, a region that includes Allen County, the release said.

Steve Yager, NACS' temporary superintendent, said the district is hopeful Barker will finish his professional career where he started.

“Mr. Barker is a perfect fit for NACS,” Yager said in a statement.

Barker earned a master's degree in educational administration in 1998 and completed his specialist in education degree in educational leadership in 2006, thus acquiring his superintendent's license.

Details of Barker's proposed contract are expected to be published today. The board will receive public input at 6 p.m. May 31, and it will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. June 7 to vote on the agreement, the release said. Barker's start date would be July 1.

The board considered two candidates from an applicant pool of two, spokeswoman Lizette Downey has said. NACS advertised the opening through its online jobs board from March 29 to April 5.

Steve Driver, the Northwest Allen County Educators Association president, told The Journal Gazette earlier this month that Yager provided the teachers and union with updates about the search.

“Our hope is that the next superintendent will continue the positive work that the previous superintendents have done to keep NACS a leader in student success and achievement,” Driver said in a May 6 email. “Also, that the new superintendent will support not only the teachers but the many other staff members and community supporters and parents that have made this district as (a) great place for children to receive an education.”

asloboda@jg.net


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