EASTERN HEIGHTS -- Outgoing Eastern Greene School Board member Rob Hudson, in his parting words to his fellow board members and school administrators Monday night, told them think big and don't be afraid to do something outside the box
Monday night was Hudson's final meeting after serving eight years.
Hudson recommended the school develop a marketing plan that sells the district as a specialty school with an increased emphasis on science and engineering courses.
Hudson, who opted not to seek re-election to third term, said with the school district's close proximity to NSA Crane -- the U.S. Navy's third largest military installation in the world ---- and with the construction of Interstate 69 moving through the county, it makes sense to prepare the students with educational skills that will be attractive to those future employers.
He also said there are many opportunities to attract residents looking for residential areas to live and provide a progressive school with a focus on the future.
NSA Crane includes Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane (NSWC) and Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA).
NWSC Crane is a Naval laboratory with research and development efforts that support the Warfighter by providing capabilities in Special Missions, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare/Information Operations.
With an annual business base of approximately $2 billion and with nearly 3,700 civilian employees and 1,700 contractors, NSA Crane is one of Indiana's largest employers.
Located just outside the gates of NSA Crane is WestGate Technology Park, which now features more than a quarter of a million square feet in new construction and has attracted more than $75 million in public and private investments.
To date, the tech park has created more than 400 new jobs with total employment nearing 1,000.
"I think we really need to be a specialized school corporation and really focus on science and engineering because workers will be settling in this community. Families moving into the community are going to be searching for a school corporation that supports that. What are we going to do for that family? We need to become the best overall education for our students," Hudson explained. "You guys (the board and administrators) need to get together and see what you can possibility do for the future.
"Be open-minded, think big and look at this corporation from a 20,000 feet view."
Monday night was also the final meeting for two-term board member Jacqueline Whaley, who also decided not to run for re-election to a third term.
Whaley said she appreciated the opportunity to serve the community and the school district.
She also made reference to her retired first-grade teacher, Debbie Wessel, who was seated in the audience.
"I hope she thinks I did OK," Whaley said with a smile.