Meeting Dr. Jeff Hauswald- everything to know about the new MCCSC superintendent

Eva Stuart, Co-Editor

Marathon runner. Basketball enthusiast. Globetrotter. Indiana Native. Passionate civil servant. Superintendent Dr. Jeff Hauswald is the latest major addition to the MCCSC administration and has ambitious goals for corporation-wide improvements. 

Hauswald assumed the position of superintendent of the Monroe County School Corporation following the retirement of Dr. Judith DeMuth in the late spring of 2020. He has worked as a superintendent for 11 years in the Kokomo School Corporation, and acted as assistant superintendent five years before that. He currently assumes the position of President of the Indiana Urban Schools Association, and was awarded the 2013 IU Chancellor and Provost Medallion as well as the IAPSS District III Superintendent of the Year Award in 2019. 

Hauswald said he chose MCCSC because it fit his specific criteria. He and his wife Cassie wanted a “progressive community that more closely aligned to their values,” as well as a return to southern Indiana, where they both grew up. “It’s in the blood, you know?” he continued. “The quality of life in southern Indiana is unbeatable, and we love the hills and trees.”

MCCSC has four main goals as the 2022 referendum approaches, including equity, diversity, funding, and communication. Equity revolves around the pandemic and ensuring that every student has access to quality education. Diversity is about having conversations on inclusivity and creating a more diverse faculty. Funding outlines budget plans and spending. Communication focuses on updating and improving communication systems. 

Hauswald notes that he didn’t enter the position with “any set goals in mind” besides “articulating what our priorities are and making sure that the work I do [is] connected and directly related to those outcomes.” He has met with the board, the community, and spent a half-day at every school in the district in hopes of listening to the community’s needs. According to Hauswald, his initial interactions with MCCSC faculty and families will “inform the understanding of the district” and be influential in his decision making. 

Though his goals aren’t strictly outlined yet, Hauswald does have an idea of who he wants to be within the school corporation. “I’m in a servant position, and I’m here to facilitate discussions, move our district forward in a way that accelerates learning, and increases opportunities for students. I operate under the philosophy that we always have to act in a way that puts our students first. That’s our primary group of people we are here to serve,” said Hauswald. He continued that he looks forward to “Getting to know the community and getting to understand what makes this community special, what makes this community progressive, [and] some of our challenges and obstacles”. 

As superintendent of the Kokomo School Corporation, Hauswald was known for his lunches with students. He plans on continuing this tradition and has already had several lunches with students at North and South high schools. “They can be some of the most informative discussions because our students really do have their fingers on the pulse,” said Hauswald. “They understand what we’re doing well, and they have suggestions, they have ideas, sometimes we just don’t ask.” He meets with a new school every month and descends in order of classes from seniors to freshmen. Afterward, he meets with athletes and students in specific subjects, before debriefing with principals in spring. “I just listen,” he continued, “and try to be responsive to students’ concerns.”

Hauswald also had some wisdom to impart on students currently navigating the new in-person school setting. “Number one: take care of yourself and your personal health.” he continues, “If you have any obstacles to that, barriers to learning, concerns or anxieties with this transition, talk to somebody. Talk to your teacher, counselor, your parents, or guardians. You have to take care of yourself.” He also recommends prioritizing your personal learning, rather than comparing yourself to your peers, as well as time management. “I always encourage students to start their day not using technology. I try to spend the first 30 minutes reading or going for a walk, anything to wake me up,” said Hauswald. 

Hauswald is passionate about sports, running, and travel. He jokes that in high school he “participated in sports but wasn’t any good.” and continued his involvement as the athletic director at Kokomo. “My favorite sport is cross country. I love that there’s the individual component, but also the team component. It creates a skill that you can play for the rest of your life.” He adds that “Growing up in a small town in Indiana, I loved IU basketball. Both Hoosier basketball at a state level, and IU basketball. My parents loved high school basketball, so we would drive on Friday nights to high school basketball games.” 

He also likes to run marathons and plans on running a marathon in all 50 states, a goal he made in his mid-twenties. “I have 11 states to go, most of them are in the Northwest or are just a little bit harder to get to.” said Hauswald. “I’ve never been to Hawaii. That’s my reward, after I finish every other state.”

Besides travel within the United States, Hauswald also has a passion for international travel. “My first time overseas was on my honeymoon, we went to the French Polynesian Islands, and then from there we’ve been to most of the continents.” said Hauswald. “I love Asia, it’s my favorite place to go. Particularly South Asia.” he continued, reflecting that “It was hard with Covid, not being able to travel.”