ANDERSON, Ind. — As Tim Edsell grew up and went off to college, he watched his friends make decisions about their futures, change their minds, and change them back.
Unlike most of his peers, Edsell has known since high school what path he would follow.
“I knew I wanted to teach, almost from the beginning,” he said.
Edsell’s ambition has earned the 42-year-old the position of interim superintendent at Anderson Community Schools. He accepted the position at the beginning of October, taking the spot vacated by exiting superintendent Felix Chow, who had held the office since January 2010.
Edsell grew up in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, just north of Scranton. After high school, he received an undergraduate degree from Cedarville University, a Christian liberal arts school near Dayton. He met his future wife, a Hoosier, at college.
Edsell already had the rest of his life planned out.
“I had a lot of good teachers and coaches growing up, and they inspired me to want to be like them,” he recounted. “They were very motivational, very caring, and very consistent in their approach. I knew. I knew I wanted to teach math and to coach baseball and football.”
Edsell took his first teaching job at a large private school in Miami, Fla., but before long moved to Indiana. He has held coaching, teaching, assistant principal, principal and superintendent jobs in Indianapolis, Jay County, Union County and, most recently, Fountain City near Richmond.
He was superintendent at Northeastern Wayne School Corp. before making the leap to Anderson.
“Every move I’ve made has been to climb that proverbial ladder,” Edsell said. “I’ve been very fortunate, very blessed to have leaders I wanted to emulate. I’ve tried to learn as much as possible at each spot.”
Edsell said his job in Anderson will likely be different than any job he’s held before. The area is still troubled by crime and poverty, left behind after the steady exodus of automotive industry jobs over the past three decades.
Those factors can be reflected in students, he said, and the school system should acknowledge related problems and offer support to families.
“We have a lot of socioeconomic factors that spill over into education,” he said. “And what that means is the population needs a lot of support from the schools and the teachers. They’re important issues for us to address.”
Though Edsell’s position is temporary, he said he wants to leave an impression during his administration, and would like to take over full time. The day he was hired, school board president Jean Chaille said Edsell would have the opportunity to earn the position outright during the interim period.
Edsell wants to focus on classroom data analysis and communication between teachers and administrators. Touting his strong background in math, he said he would focus on fiscal responsibility and budgetary solutions for the school district.
“There are great initiatives already in place that I want to sustain,” he said. “After the interim period, I want us to demonstrate strong communication skills and a strong ability to collaborate between teachers and parents.”
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