When Ty Mungle officiated basketball games at Eastern Greene High School the past 10 or 15 years, he always sensed something special about the school.
The Thunderbird faithful had a passion he didn't see at all the schools he visited.
And now that he's superintendent of the Eastern Greene School Corporation, he sees it first hand nearly every day.
"I've always felt the pride of Eastern Greene people, and the passion that they have for their school," Mungle said. "That's what makes Eastern Greene, and that's what brings the people of Jackson, Center, and Beech Creek townships together.
"That was evident to me when I visited as an official or just when I had conversations about Eastern Greene. When I was principal at Shoals, I think Shoals was very much the same way. But Eastern Greene is even more so. ... The school at Eastern Greene is the major emphasis (of the community)."
Mungle took over as superintendent from Randy Barrett, who retired. Mungle's first official day on the job was July 15.
He's made it a point to be seen around all the schools each day, and also at extra-curricular activities -- including sporting events.
But it's not because he wants people to know who he is, though that is important. Mungle wants to know as much about his school corporation as possible.
"I think it's important in a smaller school district to know what's going on. I need to know what we're good at and what areas we need to improve," Mungle explained. "We're in the business, No. 1, of educating children. We need to have that focus on student learning and how well our students are progressing."
To help make sure that happens, Lori Richmond will begin a new job Oct. 1. The current elementary school principal will be the director of learning for the entire school corporation.
Sharon Abts, the assistant principal, will take over the principal duties from Richmond.
"I want to make sure we have someone at Eastern Greene schools focusing every day on student learning, student assessments, professional development for our teachers, someone who communicates with the (Indiana) Department of Education, and someone working on grants," Mungle explained.
"She will be assisting in preschool through the 12th grade ... evaluating everything from curriculum to grants to professional development to ISTEP reviewing and giving reports to the board on student achievement.
"I think it's so important that we look at those things on a daily basis. Educating children is our emphasis, that's our business, that's what we do. Parents send us their most precious resource, and it's our job to make sure we're doing our best."
Now that the new high school is built, Mungle said the corporation needs to turn its attention to the other facilities.
"The completion of the new high school, that has been a major focus for Eastern Greene the past two years. I think now we need to come back and regain our emphasis on taking care of and sprucing up all of our facilities," Mungle said.
"Our facilities, overall, is an emphasis of mine. It's important for community pride. ... Obviously we have a new high school, but much of the other campus has the original heating and cooling boilers. We're at a point we need to start developing a plan to address those concerns over the next three-to-five years.
"What I'm trying to do is do my homework and bring that information to the board, and with the assistance of the board, try to develop a two-to-five year plan."
Mungle noted that the school's new football program has provided a sense of pride. There's a new field, and the bleachers for that field will be in place in time for the Oct. 3 home game with Union.
He added that the boys and girls basketball programs have always been a rallying point for the community, and last spring the baseball team did the same.
Mungle enjoys being part of a smaller school corporation.
"One thing that interested me in the position at Eastern Greene, you do have the ability to do and be a part of things. You don't do one thing all the time," he said.
"The other night I stayed late, changed clothes and ran the tractor on the baseball field. We were removing sod from the infield. ... If I can be a part of some of those things, that in return acts as a little bit of a catalyst to get things done."