It’s official.

School board members unanimously voted Thursday to appoint Dr. Thomas E. Warmke as superintendent of South Madison Community School Corp. He was given a three-year contract.

“I was very honored to be officiated as the new superintendent,” Warmke said. “I will try my very best to live up to their expectations.”

Warmke said soon he will be working with the board and administration in regards to reviewing the current strategic plan. He didn’t disclose specific goals.

“It feels pretty good,” Warmke added. “I’m anxious to get started.”

In October, Warmke, 54, started serving as the community’s interim superintendent after Dr. Robert Zimmerman resigned.

Before his interim post, Warmke served as the assistant superintendent for instructional services for South Madison from 2001 to 2005.

“It was a natural segue because he knew the district and he knew the people already in place and he knows their strengths,” said Susan Campbell, board member.

“We are looking forward to a long, successful partnership between the school board trustees and the new superintendent,” Campbell said.

Warmke has a lengthy resume. The superintendent received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ball State University in 1973, master’s in elementary education and administration two years later from his alma mater, a specialist degree in school superintendency in 1980 from Ball State and in 2002 a doctor of ministry with conflict management at Trinity Theological Seminary.

Warmke began his career in 1973 as an elementary teacher in Mooreland, for Blue River Valley School District. From 1973 to 1976, he worked for Delaware Community School Corp. as an elementary teacher, including a year as administrative assistant to the principal. Warmke was 24 years old when he became a principal in Southeast Dubois County School Corp. near Jasper, Ind. He worked there 10 years before taking the Indian Heights Elementary School principal post in Kokomo’s Taylor Community School Corp. from 1986 to 1991.

From 1991 to 2001, he worked at Indianapolis-based Harrison Hill Elementary School for Lawrence Township School Corp.

His road to Pendleton came in 2001 as the South Madison Community School Corp.’s assistant superintendent.

“It’s an excellent school system,” Warmke said. “I like the conservative values of the community.”

The rest is history.

“I think he will bring some really unique qualifications,” said John Lord, Maple Ridge Elementary School principal. “He’s very people-oriented and he has excellent PR (public relations) skills. Combined with his education and knowledge, he will be a wonderful leader.”

According to Lord, under Warmke’s leadership ISTEP scores have really shown progress during the last four years.

Lord said that being a superintendent is a tough job — dealing with board members, teachers, principals, teachers, students, parents, other administrators and the needs of the state.

“There are so many factors, what I call stakeholders, Warmke has to be accountable for,” Lord added. “He will do that based on what he believes is best for the children.”

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