Chesterton Tribune



Board votes 5-0 to hire Dr. Ginger Bolinger as next Duneland Schools superintendent

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Dr. Ginger Bolinger will assume the reins as superintendent of Duneland Schools on July 1, having been officially hired by the school board on Wednesday.

In front of a large group of teachers, administrators and employees of the School Corporation at the DSC Administration Center, the board voted 5-0 to award the contract to Bolinger on a motion made by Board Vice-President John Marshall.

Marshall told those in the audience “this was by far the hardest thing we ever had to work on as a board,” of the arduous four-month process since current Schools Superintendent Dave Pruis publicly announced his retirement to the School Board in January.

The search for Pruis’ successor consisted of hiring BWP & Associates as a recruitment consultant, issuing and reviewing community surveys, holding meetings with community stakeholders, compiling research data, vetting 36 applications and interviewing six candidates.

“We did a lot of research. There were a lot of meetings and a lot of time away from our families,” Marshall said, adding that the process was also “eye-opening” to the board members regarding Duneland’s identity.

“We learned so much from this, about things we did well. There were other things we didn’t even think of and made us realize some things we need to do better,” said Marshall. “I for one am very excited to have Dr. Bolinger here.”

Board President Kristin Kroeger expressed her confidence in Bolinger’s potential and the new partnerships she will create. “Excited doesn’t even begin to describe how the board feels about this. I know that when you all get to meet her and hear her ideas, you will be just as excited.”

Bolinger is coming to Duneland from Madison Consolidated Schools in southern Indiana, where she has served as superintendent since 2012. Before that, she worked as an assistant superintendent for Marion County Schools and overall has served 24 years in school administration positions.

Bolinger was present at the meeting with her husband, Rex, and reciprocated the board’s enthusiasm.

“We’re so excited to meet all of you and we’re looking forward to meeting the parents, the students, other administrators, employees and community members,” Bolinger said to those in the audience. “We’re so happy to be in a community that values collaboration, teamwork, honesty and respectfulness and we cannot wait to get here and be a part of this community. Thank you for having us.”

Contract amendment

Before the vote, Duneland Schools attorney Chuck Parkinson said that there had been an amendment added to the Bolinger’s contract regarding her relocation to Northwest Indiana.

The schools agree to pay certain expenses on Bolinger’s behalf and she is required to reside in the area by August 1, Parkinson said. He later told the Chesterton Tribune that covering expenses related to relocation is “pretty standard” for executive contracts like this.

Parkinson also told the Tribune this amendment hasn’t been in previous contracts because Duneland Schools superintendents that have come before Bolinger have lived near by.

Other terms of the contract include Bolinger’s base salary of $147,500 through 2020 and eligibility for an annual bonus of not less than 5 percent, based on the achievement of goals agreed upon by Bolinger and the school board.

The School Corporation shall make an annual contribution of $10,000 to Bolinger’s 401(a) account, an annual contribution of $8,000 to her VEBA account, a technology stipend of $1,500 annually, provide her with a monthly automobile allowance of $750 and pay 80 percent of the premium on the Schools’ health insurance plan.

A copy of the contract was published on May 5 in the Chesterton Tribune as a legal notice for the public hearing which was held on Monday, May 15.

Room to grow

Pruis, whose last day is June 30, welcomed Bolinger.

“This is a great place to be. The strength of this organization is people and it’s all about the relationships that we make,” Pruis said. “I’ve made some great friends in the 14 years I’ve been here. There is lots to do, much to be pleased with and room to grow.”

Pruis said he’s known Bolinger’s husband professionally for many years and has known how to correctly pronounce the last name. Poking fun at how others have mispronounced his own name in the past, Pruis coached those in attendance on the pronunciation of Bolinger, with the last two syllables sounding the same as the word “linger” as in to remain in a place.

Having worked beside him for years, Kroeger said she feels bittersweet about losing Pruis, whom she calls a friend.


Posted 5/25/2017





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