Returning to the district she calls home will be “like Christmas morning” for new Brown County Schools Superintendent Laura Hammack.
Hammack, a former assistant superintendent for Brown County Schools, will replace David Shaffer when he retires at the end of next month.
“I generally think of Brown County as a bunch of educators who really taught me to be an educator and a leader. I can’t wait to give back all that they have given to me,” she said.
Hammack’s hiring was announced in a contract released publicly May 4.
She is coming from Beech Grove Schools, where she has been assistant superintendent since July 2009.
“I am so excited. A lot of times here in Beech Grove I talk about Brown County as being a family, and it genuinely feels like it,” she said.
“I can’t wait to get back with the people I have genuine affection and love for. It’s exciting to have an opportunity now in this position to really affect the lives of the boys and girls and to do that with the entire school community. I am thrilled for the opportunity.”
Hammack was assistant superintendent under Shaffer from July 2007 to July 2009; before that, she taught special education and sixth grade at Nashville Elementary before becoming principal of Helmsburg Elementary.
“I think she’ll be a great superintendent. I am real pleased that the board has selected her,” Shaffer said.
She came to Brown County straight out of college, school board President Judy Hardwick said.
Hammack, who lives in Monroe County, earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from DePauw University, master’s degree in special education from Indiana University, principal’s license from Indiana Wesleyan University and education specialist and doctorate degrees from Indiana State University. She is originally from Ohio.
In 2009, she left Brown County to go to Beech Grove, to “kind of expand my vision as far as urban education is concerned,” she said.
“(Beech Grove) sure didn’t want to let her go. They loved her, but you know, what’s not to love? She’s a sweetheart,” Hardwick said. “She’s ready to come home.”
And the community seems ready to have her back.
Social media comments expressed excitement about the board’s choice.
Hardwick believes Hammack will continue to serve the district as Shaffer has: with enthusiasm.
“I’ve worked with her so long, I really know how she operates, and she’s so much like David,” Hardwick said. “They’re both outgoing; they’re both involved in everything.”
After a public hearing on her contract Monday, May 23, a special meeting to officially hire Hammack is scheduled for Tuesday, May 31.
“We’re thrilled to have her. I think everybody will be pleased with her and the job she is going to do,” Hardwick said.
School board members narrowed the pool of superintendent applicants to six for the first round of interviews, then to three. The process took three months.
New superintendent Laura Hammack will start work July 1. After her term begins, current superintendent David Shaffer will spend a few weeks helping her acclimate, school board President Judy Hardwick said.
Hammack’s contract is set to be reviewed at a public hearing Monday, May 23 at Brown County Intermediate School.
Her base salary will start at $125,000.
The contract also says she could earn stipends or base salary increases of between $1 to $10,000 based on her effectiveness. Her annual evaluations will be done by the school board.
Shaffer’s current salary is $139,000, according to the most recent contract on the district’s website. In his original contract, signed in 2007, the school board agreed to consider the possibility of a salary increase each June. His base pay in 2007 was $99,500.