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Tell City Schools chief to retire

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Evaluation process will move forward for 2013-14

By VINCE LUECKE
Editor

TELL CITY — Lynn Blinzinger, who took the reins of Tell City-Troy Township Schools in 2011, announced Oct. 8 he will step down next summer.

Blinzinger said he wanted to give the board as much notice as possible to begin the process of choosing a successor. However, he said he won’t take part in interviews or otherwise become part of the process of hiring the next superintendent.

Blinzinger, who has welcomed new grandchildren since taking the job, said he has been thinking about retiring for several months and planned to make the announcement at the end of the board’s monthly meeting. He moved the news up to the zenith of a sometimes heated discussion among two members over the board’s process of conducting his evaluation.

Blinzinger, who has repeatedly said the evaluation is required and should be done, stepped in during an exchange between board president Mack Cail and Sherri Flynn. Flynn has often criticized the board for its failure to conduct the state-required evaluation and said Cail, as president, should have taken the lead in seeing the process move forward.

Their conversation was triggered by board attorney John Werner’s explanation of the evaluation process and his assumption that nothing had been done in 2012 to begin the process ahead of the 2012-13 school year, the first in which board evaluations of superintendents became mandatory.

Flynn said the three members serving at that time had discussed goals and adopted a system offered by the state as a template for superintendent evaluations. However, she said Blinzinger was supposed to deliver his list of goals to Cail. She said the process never moved forward from that point, despite repeated requests.

“I pushed that and I pushed that. I have been asking for months and months to do this evaluation. I don’t know how we can ask our teachers to be evaluated when we refuse to evaluate our superintendent,” Flynn said.

Cail replied that the board had not publicly discussed any goals ahead of the 2012-13 school year.

“We did not sit down in a public meeting and discuss his goals. Show me that in our minutes,” he said.

Flynn answered that then board President Larry Bryant and Cail, who was then vice president, did not make the evaluation a priority.

Flynn also said the board’s minutes were too brief and generic.

Cail later apologized if he had offended anyone during the discussion with Flynn.

Blinzinger halted the back and forth and said the meeting was getting “a little out of hand.” He then explained his retirement plans and pledged to develop an evaluation for the current school year. He also offered general goals he said he has always worked toward as superintendent, including keeping the school corporation “in the black” and hiring and retaining good people. He said much of the credit for school performance, especially academics, goes to principals and teachers, not him.

The board agreed to form a search committee that will begin the process of choosing a successor.

Blinzinger said he will work until June 30.