Culver School Board Reverses Administrative Cut, Delays Naming Permanent Superintendent

Culver Community School CorporationThe Culver Community Schools Corporation has changed its plans for administrative cuts, due to some recent resignations. Last December, the school corporation recommended cutting two administrative positions, as well as some teaching jobs, as a cost-saving measure. The school board moved ahead with that process earlier this year, voting not to renew the contract of Assistant Principal/Title 1 Director Julie Berndt.

This week, though, the school board accepted the resignation of middle/high school assistant principal and athletic director Luke Biernacki. Interim superintendent Chuck Kitchell says Biernacki’s resignation, along with that of former superintendent Vicki McGuire in December, has led to a bit of a reversal. “Obviously, when I became interim superintendent, we didn’t hire a full-time superintendent, so in essence, we reduced Dr. McGuire out,” Kitchell says. “I took over as superintendent, and they didn’t fill my position as director of operations/assistant principal at the elementary, however you want to look at that. And then, when Luke Biernacki left us as the AD/assistant principal at the high school/middle school, we were able then to move Julie Berndt back in, to that position.”

Instead of being allowed to expire, Julie Berndt’s contract was renewed for another two years, along with those of Middle/High School Principal Brett Berndt and Elementary School Principal Erin Proskey. Pay and benefits will stay at current levels, although the number of days Proskey works per year will increase. While Julie Berndt will take over as assistant principal at Culver Community Middle/High School, principal Brett Berndt will add athletic director to his duties.

Meanwhile, the school board also voted Monday to renew Kitchell’s contract for another year. He says he plans to continue serving as interim during that time, while the school board will likely put off naming a permanent superintendent until next year. “It really came down to, I think, a timing thing last year,” Kitchell says. “They felt they didn’t want to do a search at the end of the school year last year, so they asked if I could stay on a year, knowing that we would do the search and prepare for the search, coming early this next spring.”

However, Oregon-Davis and North Judson-San Pierre also had superintendents step down at the end of 2015, and both have already selected permanent replacements.

Kitchell says he does not plan on applying for the superintendent’s job at Culver on a permanent basis, saying he currently plans to retire at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.