<%@ Page Language="vb" AutoEventWireup="false" Codebehind="dspaboutiace.aspx.vb" Inherits="IASP.dspaboutiace"%> <%@ Register TagPrefix="uc2" TagName="Header" Src="Controls/Header.ascx" %> <%@ Register TagPrefix="uc1" TagName="BottomNav" Src="Controls/BottomNav.ascx" %> IASP Principals of The Year

Bruce Haddix

McClelland Elementary School


Thomas Sanborn

Dekalb Middle School


2004 Principals of the Year

Bruce Haddix | Thomas Sanborn | Richard Kirchner

2004 Assistant Principal of the Year

George Gordon

After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in music education at Indiana Central College and his master’s in music education at Indiana University, Bruce received his administrative license at Butler University.  Bruce taught at IPS and Plainfield Jr. High School, then moved to Wayne Township schools, where he has been a music teacher, assistant principal, and principal at McClelland Elementary since 2001.

An urban school that housed more than 1,000 students last year, McClelland Elementary has a wonderfully diverse population of 19 languages.  The students encompass Hispanic, Asian, African-American and Middle Eastern cultures, bringing cultural growth, tolerance and understanding.  McClelland Elementary brings unique learning opportunities to its students.  Bruce introduced a three-week unit based on the Wizard of Oz that taught science through rainbow and tornado formation, and values such as having courage and heart.  Bruce plays instrumental and classical music in the school halls. 

Bruce incorporates music into virtually every aspect of his life – giving of time and talent by coordinating and performing at a concert for a church member on dialysis, as founder and conductor of the Wayne Township Staff Choir, being the piano accompanist at school holiday programs, or being the Director of Music for over 30 years at the United Methodist Church.  By serving students and members of the community, one McClelland parent says of Mr. Haddix, “God has truly blessed us with an angel”.

Bruce is currently principal at Center Grove Elementary in Greenwood.

Prior to starting his education career, Tom completed his Bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Ball State University, and his Master’s degree in administration at IUPUI-Fort Wayne.  He was a classroom teacher for nine years in Steuben County before moving to the Dekalb Central United School System, where he was named principal at Dekalb Middle School in 1990.

Dekalb Middle School houses approximately 1000 sixth through eighth graders.  Recognizing the significant difference in socio-economic backgrounds the students come from, guidance counselors and teachers developed orientation and advisor-advisee programs. These assist students with understanding the importance for learning tolerance and respect for each other.  Implementing Don Treffinger’s Level of Service approach to talent development this year will enable staff to provide unique learning opportunities to many more students.

Being selected as a pilot school for “Classworks” addressed the need to transform the school climate by creating a warm and welcoming environment.  Hallways display life skill words while teachers use these words in their lessons as a foundation for the school wide theme, “Do the Right Thing….Treat People Right”.

Dekalb Middle School’s improvement plan reflects three main areas of concentration:  school wide literacy, positive learning environment and real world math skills.

Tom’s family helps him be a caring, involved and dedicated leader of Dekalb MS staff and students.  His wife is a third grade teacher whom he describes as being a great consultant for educational issues.  His father taught him that people are more inclined to support plans they help create.  As his father says, “leaders should be careful not to get too far out in front of the troops, or they’ll confuse you for the enemy”. 

Richard received his bachelor’s degree at Winona State University, followed by his master’s degree at Ball State University and secondary administration and supervision license at Purdue University.  He has been with the Portage Township Schools his entire 35-year career, and principal at Portage High School since 1995.

Portage High School’s diverse 2,400 member student body is housed in two buildings – a freshman building that works in a teaming environment and the other building containing the 10-12 programs, operating on a Block-4 schedule.  To address the ever growing multi-cultural needs, Portage High School has established a club is to raise awareness of cultural differences and similarities.

At Portage, the 250 offered courses are clustered in the Five Career Academies – the Health, Human Resources, Fine Arts and Communication, Business and Pre-Engineering Academies.  A career exploration class for freshmen is a graduation requirement.

Richard says one of the key challenges in a school the size of Portage High School is communication among administration, faculty and students.   Holding a variety of scheduled meetings provides an opportunity for dialog and helps develop a positive atmosphere and improve student learning.  During his first year as principal, and working with community members, Richard was instrumental in the establishment of a permanent foundation to provide ten $1,000 scholarships annually.

A key partnership between the high school and the community is the Northshore Health Clinic, which is attached to the school building.  Providing countless job shadowing experiences, this collaboration has received accolades throughout the state and nation as a model for other communities.

“We Educate Today For Tomorrow’s Success” is Portage High School’s motto. Committing himself to being an educational leader and not accepting status quo, the success of tomorrow’s Portage High School students is assured.

Richard Kirchner

Portage High School


With 26 years experience as an Assistant Principal, George has been instrumental in the initiation of many programs benefiting students in the Merrillville School system, and since 1993 at Valparaiso High School.

 Having received his bachelor’s degree at Purdue University in Industrial Arts, George continued his education with his master’s degree, and receiving a life license in educational administration.

 Valparaiso High School serves 2050 students with a 10% minority population.  To meet the diverse needs of the students, 27 clubs, including a multicultural club, meet weekly.  Valparaiso High School was recently selected as 1 of 30 National Model Schools.

 George says he is always looking for ways to recognize the academic accomplishments of Valparaiso’s students.  He was instrumental in developing the wall of “Academic Excellence” and a special year-end recognition program.  He also serves as the school’s academic team coordinator and chairperson of the Duneland Academic Conference.

 While recognizing those students who excel academically, he has not forgotten the underachieving students.  The PASS (Planned Action for Student Success) program involves a contract with the student who receives three or more F’s, the student’s parents, and the school that outlines what each has to do in order for the student to be more successful.

 George believes being an educational leader means being a people person.  He feels he has the ability to get along with, and work with people so that everyone benefits, thereby earning the respect of the student body and teaching staff.

2004 Assistant Principal of the Year
George Gordon

Valparaiso High School