March 4, 2024

HSE names State Board of Education member as superintendent after former leader’s controversial departure

Patrick Mapes was appointed as the superintendent of Hamilton Southeastern Schools on Feb. 28 by the district board of trustees. Mapes is seen visiting an HSE school in February 2024. - Hamilton Southeastern Schools

Patrick Mapes was appointed as the superintendent of Hamilton Southeastern Schools on Feb. 28 by the district board of trustees. Mapes is seen visiting an HSE school in February 2024.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools

A well-known state education leader is the new superintendent of Hamilton Southeastern Schools, months after the former superintendent abruptly resigned.

School board members voted unanimously last week to appoint Patrick Mapes, the former Perry Township Schools superintendent, in the top spot. Mapes retired from Perry Schools in 2023 after nearly seven years at the Marion County district.

Mapes’ appointment comes after controversies brought forth by the district’s school board over the last year, including the removal of microaggression language from student handbooks.

Those controversies reached a peak when HSE’s former superintendent, Yvonne Stokes, abruptly left at the start of this school year.

Mapes, who also serves on the Indiana State Board of Education, began his tenure Feb. 28 after a months-long search by HSE’s school board that brought in outside consultants.

At his appointment meeting on Feb. 28, Dr. Juanita Albright, the school board’s president, said board members are supportive of their decision.

“The school board’s priority was to identify a candidate with strong leadership skills and deep knowledge of Indiana’s education environment while also possessing enthusiasm for developing strong connections with HSE staff, students and families” Albright said. 

Under his superintendent contract, Mapes will receive a salary of $215,270 in addition to $1,000 monthly in lieu of mileage reimbursement and $100 for technology. Mapes, 59, will also receive $2,500 per pay period to his retirement by the district. 

During his appointment meeting, Mapes told board members he was impressed with HSE students throughout his initial days in the district. 

“I’ve been here now for four days,” Mapes said. “I’ve visited sixteen buildings. I’m amazed at the instruction that’s taking place and things and opportunities of where we can take our kids in the future.”

In one of his first actions as superintendent, Mapes promoted Matt Kegley, who served as interim superintendent for about five months, to deputy superintendent. He led the district during its successful referendum renewal in November.

Kegley was thrust into the role in the same breath as Stokes' resignation in September. 

HSE’s school board, which flipped to more conservative voices in 2022, then began a search for a new chief. Stokes, the district’s first Black superintendent, often clashed with the then freshman board and fielded critics dating back to her hiring in 2021. 

Mapes has spent more than 30 years in public education. In that time, he was in leadership roles on various state boards, including Indiana Education Employment Relations Board and Teacher Licensing and Assistant Superintendent of Operations for the Indiana Department of Education.

Rachel Fradette is the WFYI Statehouse education reporter. Contact Rachel at rfradette@wfyi.org.

 

 

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