The Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees on Tuesday approved a three-year contract with Dr. Mark Daniel to be the next superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools.
The move returns Dr. Daniel to his home school district. He is a 1979 graduate of North Side High School and had his first teaching position at North Side. From 1986-1995, he taught advanced algebra, geometry, business law, accounting and skills for living, as well as coached football, basketball, baseball, track and golf.
He left North Side to become assistant principal at Leo Junior/Senior High School in 1995 and took over as Leo’s principal in 1998, a position he held for 12 years. In 2010, he became superintendent of Dowagiac Union Schools in Dowagiac, Michigan, a K-12 school district with about 2,400 students. In 2014, he was hired as superintendent of McLean County Unit District No. 5 in Normal, Illinois, a K-12 school district with 13,300 students.
It was Dr. Daniel’s experience leading districts in other states and his Fort Wayne roots that led the Board to select him as the 15th superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools.
“Mark will be able to bring new ideas to the district but also has an understanding of our community, as well as the strengths and challenges of our school district,” said Julie Hollingsworth, President of the FWCS Board of School Trustees. “He has proven success in collaborating with teachers, administrators, support staff, students, parents and business and community leaders. These characteristics convinced the Board that Dr. Mark Daniel is the best person to lead FWCS, both to build on its success and to drive increased student performance.”
Dr. Daniel credits his years at North Side for shaping his teaching philosophy and relationship-based mindset in approaching education.
“Having been a classroom teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal, principal and superintendent, I have a global perspective of what it means to educate each student to achieve personal excellence,” Dr. Daniel said. “I believe when you are able to collaborate with fellow educators, students, parents and community leaders, the systems and programs created and implemented to improve learning and meaningful experiences for students are boundless. Being an administrator in three states, I have gleaned best practices for pre-K through 12th grade that I’ll be able to bring to FWCS.”
The Board chose Dr. Daniel through a national search, which began in the fall with seeking community input on qualities the Board should seek in a new superintendent. That feedback was the basis for the Leadership Profile developed by the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates and used in identifying potential candidates. The Board received 23 applications and interviewed six candidates in early April. Three candidates, including Dr. Daniel, were interviewed a second time in late April.
The three-year contract approved by the Board provides a base salary of $215,000 with the opportunity for a $10,000 annual performance bonus for an evaluation rating of effective or highly effective.
Dr. Daniel officially takes over as superintendent on July 1, the day after current superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson retires. Dr. Robinson has served Fort Wayne Community Schools for 47 years, the past 17 as superintendent.
“Dr. Wendy Robinson has successfully led FWCS through the most turbulent times in Indiana for K-12 education,” Hollingsworth said. “Through the introduction of vouchers, increased promotion of charters, state budget cuts, tax caps, constantly changing accountability and a legislature determined to demean teachers, Dr. Robinson has expertly managed FWCS through every crisis and put FWCS in a position to meet its next challenges. The Board is grateful to Dr. Robinson for her passion, commitment to our community and her leadership.”
With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.