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Richards next NH asst. supt.

March 30, 2011
Lance Richards looks forward to his new position with the North Harrison Community School Corp. when he switches June 1 from principal at Morgan Elementary School to the corporation assistant superintendent.

Lance Richards
"Stepping into the assistant superintendent role will be a challenge," Richards, 46, said. "I'll get a better handle on the district as a whole."

Richards said he's up to the challenge and is looking forward to the move.

"I'm committed to North Harrison," he said. "I have no desire to leave the school corporation."

The five-member school board unanimously approved Richards' promotion during its February meeting. Veteran administrator Ed Pitman has been the interim assistant superintendent since Dr. Ken Oppel died Dec. 31. Oppel succeeded Pitman on July 1, 2005, when Pitman retired after 13 years in the position.

Richards said he is sad about how he came to get the position.

"I considered Ken to be a good friend," he said. "We (principals) always knew Ken had your back."

Richards was first hired by the North Harrison school district in 1999. Before taking over as MES principal when Von Marshall retired, Richards was a teacher at Lanesville Junior-Senior High School. He graduated from Clarksville High School in 1982 and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees plus his administrative certificate from Indiana University Southeast in New Albany. In 2009, he earned his education specialist degree from Indiana State University.

The assistant superintendent position, which also doubles as transportation director, now will include the duty of curriculum development and overseeing the progress of all North Harrison schools making AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress), thus requiring Richards to work with the building principals (Kelly Simpson at the high school, Karen Lambertus at the middle school, Lisa Jones at North Harrison Elementary and his yet-to-be hired successor at Morgan).

"I have a terrific working relationship with all the principals," Richards said.

Tentatively, the school board will accept applications this month for Richards' successor, will interview candidates in April then likely hire a principal in May.

Morgan Elementary is nearing the completion of a renovation project.

Saying he was grateful to the school board in 1999 that took "a leap of faith" to hire him as principal, Richards is equally appreciate of the current board for showing confidence in him by selecting him as assistant superintendent.

"I want to step up for the children and try to do more for them," he said. "This is a unique time; we're coming off the contract dispute and we're going to try to move forward."

He welcomes interaction and inquiries from parents and said he will "communicate openly and honestly."

Richards and his wife, Melissa, who is a counselor at Greenville Elementary School, live in the Palmyra area. They have a son, Jarod, who is a freshman at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, and a daughter, Jessica, who is a sophomore at North Harrison High School.

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