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Reed leaves door open to superintendent's post


Election preview


October 22, 2008
The office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will have a new look after the first of the year. That's because Dr. Suellen K. Reed, who has held the office the past 16 years, is not seeking re-election.

Seeking the post are Democrat Richard D. Wood and Republican Tony Bennett.

According to Reed's Web site, the duties of the office include ensuring that the department performs its duties as required by statute; implements the policies and procedures established by the state board of education; conducts analytical research to assist the state board of education in determining the state's educational policy; compiles statistics concerning the ethnicity and gender of students in Indiana schools; and provides technical assistance to school corporations. The superintendent also serves as chairman of the state board of education, which consists of a 10-member panel appointed by the governor.

Bennett, of New Albany, has more than 20 years experience in education. He taught science for nine years before moving to the central administration office as an assistant superintendent, and he currently is the superintendent for Greater Clark County Schools. He earned a B.S. from Indiana University Southeast in 1984, a M.S. from IUS in 1988, a certification in secondary administration and supervision from IUS in 1994, and an Ed.D and superintendent's license from Spalding University in 2005.

He says on his Web site that he "knows the challenges teachers face every single day" and that it takes "a team effort among students, parents, teachers and administrators" to educate students.

One thing Bennett intends to do, if elected, is work on tightening laws regarding background checks for teachers during the hiring process.

"Teachers are on the front lines of education every day, and we must make sure we have teachers of the highest integrity and moral quality in front of our children," he said in a press release.

Wood retired as superintendent from the Tippecanoe School Corp. after 19 years. Prior to that, he was a school teacher then principal in other school corporations. He earned an education specialist degree from Butler University and a doctorate in education from Indiana University.

In an interview with another newspaper, Wood said schools should demand high standards as well as offer alternatives for students with differing abilities. He supports a partnership with Ivy Tech Community College or traditional college campuses to offer programs to high school students.

"Yes, there is some upfront cost to that," he said, but he believes it will save money in the long run by producing an educated work force.

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