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.”
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.
present at the meeting with her husband, Rex, and reciprocated the board’s
“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.”
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
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
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.
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
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.
beside him for years, Kroeger said she feels bittersweet about losing Pruis,
whom she calls a friend.