(By Nick Schneider) [Order this photo]
Jerrill Vandeventer, Ph.D., a 1971 graduate of Bloomfield High School and recently retired superintendent of Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools, was hired to fill in the top leadership position in the WRV School District by a unanimous vote.
Vandeventer, who starts Friday morning, will replace former superintendent Layton Wall, who announced an immediate early retirement Jan. 11.
(By Nick Schneider) [Order this photo]
Speaking to the board, Vandeventer thanked them for the opportunity and said, "I'll do the best job I can for you."
Vandeventer told the Greene County Daily World that he was happy to come to his home county and stated, "I love education and love public education and I love working with kids. I love working with people. I retired last June and had an opportunity to get a lot of things done around the house and I'm just kind of ready to get back out and do some things."
He continued, "I am just excited to be a part of what is going to come to pass with kids, teachers and the community."
When asked if the district being in his home county was key in his interest in applying for the interim job, Vandeventer replied, "This is my home county and I have a passion for the schools here. But the reality of it is, it (the location) is reasonably close for me and it was an opportunity that came about in January. There are not a lot of things that come available at that time. I think it's a good opportunity for me and hopefully I can provide some assistance."
Vandeventer said he'll be busy in the next few days getting acclimated to his new job.
"There's an orientation period of time of observation and you don't come in especially as an interim and make a tremendous amount of changes. You just try to steady the ship and guide the ship and be a sounding board for teachers, for the students, for the community, for the board. Just be a person who can provide some guidance," he explained.
Vandeventer began his career in education in 1975 as an industrial arts teacher at Mooresville High School. He was an industrial arts and health teacher at Tri-Central High School from 1976-78, then an industrial arts teacher at Tell City for 1978-79. He was an industrial arts teacher at Owen Valley High School from 1979-83, then a physical education teacher at Boonville High School from 1983-86. He served as an assistant principal at Evansville Harrison High School from 1986-95 before moving to Greater Jasper Schools. There he was an assistant superintendent from 1995-2006 and superintendent from 2006-2012.
After high school graduation, Vandeventer attended Milligan College and Purdue University, earning his bachelor's degree from Purdue in 1975. He received his master's degree from Indiana State in 1980 and a degree in secondary administration from Indiana State in 1986. He completed the Educational Specialist at Indiana State in 1997 and received his doctorate's degree from Indiana State in 2005.
A former successful basketball coach, Vandeventer served in school administration for 17 years, the last six as superintendent of Greater Jasper Schools before his retirement last June.
WRV Board President Jason Davidson said he and the rest of the board were very impressed with Vandeventer during the interview process.
"The experience and he just stuck out to us. We called him and he answered every one of our questions before we even asked them. Hopefully, he can take us through and get us where we need to go," Davidson said. "I think he'll do fine. Hopefully, he can help find our superintendent. He said he would work with us to do that."
Board member Mark Downey, a former sports editor at the Bloomfield Evening World and the Greene County Daily World, pointed out that he has known Vandeventer for many years.
"The fact that somebody with his experience and character is available now is pretty awesome," Downey said.
Vandeventer was a varsity basketball coach for 11 seasons, compiling a 147-96 record with three conference titles, three co-Evansville city championships and one sectional crown. He coached four years at Owen Valley, three years at Boonville and four years at Evansville Harrison. His best seasons were 21-2 at Boonville in 1985-86 and 20-2 at Evansville Harrison in 1988-89.
He coached 10 players who went on to play college basketball, including Calbert Cheaney, Walter McCarty, Chris Lowery, Brent Kell and Brad Brownell. Cheaney and McCarty went on to play in the NBA, and Cheaney, McCarty, Lowery and Brownell all have become college or NBA coaches.
Last year, Vandeventer was named District 7 Superintendent of the Year by the Indiana Association of School Superintendents and the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Administrator of the Year.
Vandeventer and his wife, Jill, have three children -- son Tyler and daughters Tory and Tara -- and three grandchildren.