North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson says her abrupt decision to retire at the end of December, a year before her current contract is up, was a mutual one between herself and the school board. The corporation made the announcement on Monday, and the board will formally accept her resignation and separation agreement at their November meeting.
“I don’t have less of a commitment to the corporation,” Johnson told WKVI News in an exclusive interview. “I intend to see the referendum through, ensure a smooth transition and make any tough decisions that might be necessary.”
She admitted the push for a property tax increase to shore up the corporation’s general fund is a “polarizing process” but added “we are a community that loves our kids.” Voters who reside within the district will decide that issue on Tuesday.
N.J.-S.P. School Board President Pat Goin agrees the referendum push has been a “long, hard battle” for Johnson.
“No one can question her dedication to North Judson-San Pierre Schools and her way of putting kids first always,” Goin told WKVI News.
She adds filling the superintendent’s position will be “very difficult” if the referendum does not pass. Should that happen Goin says the corporation will have to be conscientious of spending and continue to tighten its belt.
Johnson is staying on through the end of December. Her immediate plans include spending a week with her granddaughters in Illinois and heading to Florida with her husband for a vacation to “think, contemplate and plan.” Johnson’s 30 year career in education includes 11 years as a teacher in LaPorte, 13 years as a principal and the last six as superintendent at N.J.-S.P. She praised the corporation’s leadership team, central office and teaching staffs for their hard work and dedication.
Goin says the Indiana School Board Association keeps a list of interim administrators who are willing to step in on a short-term basis. The board will work with them to find a superintendent to buy time until the end of the school year. Goin adds there is one qualified candidate within the corporation and encourages her to apply when the position is posted. She says the corporation is open to exploring all options in the future, including possible administrative consolidation with other districts, but questions how much money that process would actually save. Johnson’s salary is $102,000 annually, according to the North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Employment Contract.