ISU recognizes Reed's work as state superintendent

September 30 2008

INDIANAPOLIS -- During a breakfast Tuesday (Sept. 30) morning, the Indiana State University educational leadership, administration and foundation (ELAF) department recognized out-going Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed for her work.

Robert Boyd, associate professor of ELAF, said that each person has a list of heroes.

"They're honest, patient and do the right thing," he said. "On my professional list of heroes, the top three spots are occupied by Dr. Suellen Reed."

After serving 16 years as the state school superintendent, Reed decided not to seek re-election. At the end of this year she will move into the private sector and work for Ross Sinclaire and Associates as vice president of business development.

"You can look back and say in the vernacular of every Hoosier, ?Shucks, I done real good'," said Boyd, who taught Reed when she attended ISU for post-doctoral classes. "Dr. Reed, you've done real good."

In honor of her work, the university presented Reed with an inscribed crystal bell.

Wayne Schmidt of Schmidt and Associates also presented Reed with his Kaleidoscope Award. Schmidt said he and Reed often would be present for groundbreakings and dedications of new schools.

"She has heard me speak a couple of times about kaleidoscope thinking," he said. He further explained that as a person spins the kaleidoscope, she sees things from a new angle which is also an example of creative thinking.

"Your creativity and exuberance you bring from the heart of a school teacher," Schmidt said. "You are the personification of a servant leader."

"I was there when he would present these to schools, and say ?That is so cool. I wish I had one,'" Reed said in accepting the award. "Now, I do."

ISU President Dan Bradley also expressed appreciation for her 16 years of service, and for helping students to succeed.

"All of us are in the business of helping our students succeed," he said. "Then we get a phone call, but if we can remember that, everything else will take care of itself."

In introducing Reed, Joyce Fulford, associate state director of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, said ever since the two met in 1987, Reed has had an impact on her life both personally and professionally.

"I was in my first year as a school superintendent in Taylor (near Kokomo) when on June 11, 1998, a tornado took out our high school, middle school and central office. One of the first phone calls I received was from Suellen," she said. "The state of Indiana is losing a dedicated, passionate advocate to make the schools the best place they can be."

Reed also gave the keynote address at the breakfast, which was held in conjunction with the Indiana School Boards Association.

Handling a rapidly changing world is key for school officials, Reed said.

"We've done nothing but change for the last 16 years," she said. "We need some peace, but it's not going to happen...This kind of situation needs extraordinary leadership."

She encouraged those in attendance to embody certain truths such as having good values and moral character, as well as having a sense of responsibility.

"Sometimes it's hard to do the right thing when the wrong thing is so much easier," she said. "Children and your colleagues need you to stand up for what's right. We need to make sure that we not only uphold values, but we show that to others and that people see us doing the right thing."

Reed also encouraged the roomful of superintendents, school board members and other school leaders to show personal, professional and civic responsibility.

"When I talk to kids about professionalism, I say that no matter what profession they are in they should make it clear that their profession is just a little better because they were there. Are we doing the same in our jobs'" she said. "Civic doesn't just mean taking a senior government class or just voting, although voting is very important. It's also important to know what the issues are, to discuss them with friends, do a little homework and make good comparisons."

She advised the leaders to be ready to step up into other positions when called upon, as she was when asked to run for superintendent.

"To continue to perpetuate the American democratic way of life means serving, means getting out of your comfort zone," she said. "It will mean a better government, a better and stronger Indiana and better future leaders."

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Contact: Joshua Powers, chair of the department of educational leadership, administration and foundations, at (812) 237-2900 or at jopowers@indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, assistant director of media relations, at 812-239-7972 or at jsicking@indstate.edu

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/383825975_ZMbuD-D.jpg

Cutline: Audience members applaud Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed during the Indiana State University educational leadership, administration and foundation (ELAF) department's breakfast Tuesday (Sept. 30) morning.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/383825157_HoDPL-D.jpg

Cutline: Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed speaks to superintendents, school board members and other school leaders during Indiana State University educational leadership, administration and foundation (ELAF) department's breakfast Tuesday (Sept. 30) morning in downtown Indianapolis.

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Story Highlights

During a breakfast Tuesday (Sept. 30) morning, the Indiana State University educational leadership, administration and foundation (ELAF) department recognized out-going Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed for her work.

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