Fort Wayne Community School Board members agreed to hire three top-tier administrators Monday, including a new principal at Northrop High School.
Kevin Simmons, who has more than 25 years of educator experience, will take the reins at Northrop. He replaces longtime Principal Barb Ahlersmeyer, who has retired.
Most recently, Simmons was principal at a high school in Baltimore. He began his career as a physical education teacher in Michigan in 1993 and has also been an athletic director, assistant principal, principal and an administrator.
The board also approved a new secondary curriculum director and chief academic officer.
Michael Sullivan joined FWCS last year as the middle school area director and has been selected as the new secondary curriculum director.
Before moving to Fort Wayne, Sullivan spent more than 15 years in education in Indianapolis teaching and as an assistant principal and principal in five different schools. As the middle school area director, Sullivan will help middle and high school staffs implement the new Indiana College and Career Ready Standards.
Tracy Williams will become the district’s chief academic officer and fills a position that has been vacant for more than a year.
Williams is new to FWCS but not to educational experience. For more than 20 years, she has served in many capacities – as teacher, assistant middle school principal, and principal at various Ohio and Michigan school districts.
In other business, board members approved adding pre-K classrooms at Lindley and Washington elementary schools this school year.
“Those are the two schools with the highest need that did not already have a pre-K program,” Assistant Superintendent Pam Musick said. “And they also had the necessary space.”
The district currently has 15 similar accredited programs in 15 elementary schools, with just under 500 4-year-old students. The new students will bring that total to nearly 550, Musick said.
Each classroom will have one certified teacher and one classified assistant to keep in line with federal accreditation standards. The programs are federally funded.
The district is also one of seven groups in Allen County participating in a United Way of Allen County early-learning pilot program, which Gov. Mike Pence announced last week. That program is expected to launch next year.
“A successful pre-K program is absolutely crucial,” Superintendent Wendy Robinson said.
Board members Monday also approved hiring architect/engineers for three renovation projects set to start next summer: Primary Engineering Inc., Haley Elementary School; SchenkelSchultz Architecture, Jefferson Middle School; and Design Collaborative, Weisser Park Elementary School.
The renovations are the last in a three-year, $119 million building project approved by voters in 2012.