‘DREAM COMES TRUE’ AS ROD HITE NAMED SUPERINTENDENT
“When everybody says, ‘where are you from?’ I always say Vevay or Switzerland County,” Rod Hite says. “It’s always been home.”
Rod Hite’s dream to return home came true on Monday, June 18th when the Switzerland County School Board unanimously approved him to replace Mike Jones as school superintendent.
Hite will officially begin on July 1st (a special day for the Hite’s). It will be he and his wife Mandy’s 23rd wedding anniversary.
The couple, along with their children Roman 11 and Saxton 8, were in attendance to accept the position.
Mike Jones is retiring after 39 years service to Switzerland County schools including a teacher to Hite, a 1993 Switzerland County High School.
After graduation he went into the Marines for four years before working three years for Beneficial/HFC Finance.
He landed a history teacher position at North Decatur Jr. Sr. High School from 2005-2007.
He left there for a similar position at South Ripley where he also coached the 2008 South Ripley baseball team to the final four game.
He went back to North Decatur to serve as assistant principal/Athletic Director at North Decatur from 2008-2010.
Hite returned as principal at South Ripley Junior High 2010 through 2014 where he was named District 10 Middle School principal of the Year and Indiana Principal of the Year.
He moved on to be principal at Edgewood Junior High from 2014-2016.
In 2015, Hite was selected District 7 American Legion Educator of the Year and Indiana American Legion Educator of the Year (grades 6-8).
In 2016-17 he became assistant superintendent at Richland Bean Blossum School Corporation near Bloomington.
Hite earned his Bachelor of Science from Indiana State University with a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Administrators from Olivet Nazarene University. He added his Education Specialist Degree from ISU.
Hite comes home after serving a year as principal at South Ripley High School.
It was his third time being hired at South Ripley. He told them upfront that he would only leave if a position opened at Switzerland County.
“We never thought it would be one year,” Hite adds. “When I talked to Mike it was more like two to three years. It was just in the last three months that this would be a possibility.
“My goal was never to come back as superintendent but God’s hand led that path. Now the dream comes true to be back at my boyhood home.”
After 25 years of being gone, he says he is amazed how much progress there has been in many areas of the community. It is still tight knit and close.
The school system has changed, most notable the addition of the middle school. “I’m looking forward to get into the schools and see the changes,” he adds. The state has driven many of the changes.
One priority is to have “a school system and not a system of schools.”
The first big change will be aligning curriculum and offerings at the schools. A parent can take their child from Switzerland County Elementary and move to Jeff Craig and have the same curriculum.
Of course, safety is always a concern. “My whole world goes to school every day. It (safety) is paramount in my decisions.” He plans to meet with the school resource officer and discuss matters including Switzerland County Elementary and availability of sheriff, state police and DNR officials.
A superintendent’s important part is to lead the curriculum and fiscal responsibility, along with grounds and facilities. Hite plans to build a vision and determine what is education in Switzerland County. That will be done by working hand and hand with the board aligning curriculum and where will the schools be in three to five years, explains Hite.