The La Porte Community School Corporation's board of education convened publicly on Monday to nominate and announce Assistant Superintendent Mark Francesconi as their choice for Superintendent. The road to the decision was, as the board admitted, a long one, and extra steps were taken along the way, but the extra steps taken were chosen deliberately to ensure that the board was doing the right thing.
"Selecting a superintendent is one of the most important duties of a school board," said Mike Kellems, board president. "The superintendent is the captain of a very large ship that includes a multi-million dollar budget, hundreds of employees and most importantly, leads the staff in educating our most precious resource, our children."
Francesconi has been with the LPCSC for four years and served a decade as principal for Michigan City High School prior to that. Upon being elected, Francesconi thanked the board and pledged to work toward continuing the successes of the recent years while working on those initiatives that hadn't worked out as hoped.
"I'm humbled, and again proud of the board for having the confidence in me and the confidence to look within the school corporation to fill this position," Francesconi said. "I think it says something about the fact that they realize that we're ready to move ahead with some of these initiatives that we've had, but also understand that there are things that we can get better on and we're looking to move from good to great here in La Porte."
The LPCSC is planning on going through a number of changes as these plans unfold, and Francesconi said that he expects excellence from everyone, most of all himself, in making sure that the school corporation improves to provide the best environment possible for education.
"My fellow board members all feel that this selection is very important as the superintendent will be leading the La Porte schools into a very exciting time," said Kellems. "Our test scores rank very high, our Virtual Learning Academy is making tremendous strides, and our partnership with local colleges through the Concurrent Credit Program has never been stronger. I believe that with the right leadership in place, the La Porte Community schools will continue to set the standard for education in our state."
The bar will be set high for Francesconi with the previous successes, but by building on those successes and working to improve the Corporation's other projects, there will be time to focus on the more challenging issues that will arise in the next year.
"We have some initiatives that we plan to continue," said Francesconi. "We've had a high focus on school safety over the last few years, and we've been focused on our vocational programming. We want to move forward with those initiatives. We also want to look closely at our curriculum planning process that we have and continue that, but also address the changes that'll be going on this year with the ISTEP, and the fact that it's going to be a different type of exam. It's going to match the current standards that have just been changed. In addition to that we know that virtual learning is going to continue to be a focus of ours... those are probably the main initiatives that we'll be focused on."