Wawasee School Board Tuesday unanimously selected Andy Cripe (C) as the new Turkey Creek Board member. He will replace Mary Lou Dixon, who resigned effective Oct. 31, after serving 19 years on the School Board. Pictured (L to R) are Susan, Hudson, Andy, Dane and Taylor Cripe. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Wawasee School Board Tuesday unanimously selected Andy Cripe (C) as the new Turkey Creek Board member. He will replace Mary Lou Dixon, who resigned effective Oct. 31, after serving 19 years on the School Board. Pictured (L to R) are Susan, Hudson, Andy, Dane and Taylor Cripe. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
SYRACUSE – Of the five applicants for the Turkey Creek seat vacancy on the Wawasee School Board, Andy Cripe was unanimously voted in Tuesday.

He will serve out the remainder of Mary Lou Dixon’s term. She resigned from the Board, effective Oct. 31, after 19 years. Cripe will be sworn in at the November Wawasee School Board meeting.

The other four candidates were David Rosenberry, Nancy Nelson, Vicki Morton and Rob Chalk. They all took part in a public candidate interview forum Sept. 28. Immediately after the forum, the Wawasee School Board met in executive session “to choose the candidate,” according to Board President Don Bokhart Tuesday, who then announced the chosen candidate was Cripe.

“Mr. Cripe is a local business owner and entrepreneur, most recently developing the former ShopCo store into an active part of our local business community. He has a passion for our community and, thus, for Wawasee Schools,” Bokhart said before asking for a motion and second to approve Cripe to the Board position. A motion was made and unanimously approved.

Cripe had his family with him and introduced them, including his wife Susan and children Hudson, Dane and Taylor.

“Thank you. I’m really excited,” he told the Board. “I’m intimidated by the size of the Board pack. Is it really a 100-plus pages? Anyway, I’m excited for it. Just excited to learn and understand it and just be a part of it. I love what we have going on in our community.”

Superintendent Dr. Steve Troyer then presented Andy Cripe with a Wawasee shirt.

Later at the end of the School Board meeting, Troyer offered his “sincere congratulations” to Dixon. “She has served our Board for 19 years and has served in the Wawasee community as an educator for many years. And I can tell you that I just have appreciated her leadership and her personality. She’s always fun to work with. So, thank you, Mrs. Dixon, as you retire here at the end of this month, and you’re welcome to come back any time and join us,” Troyer said.

Bokhart also thanked Dixon for her 19 years of service as a Wawasee School Board member.

“During this time, the one constant I believe that’s guided Mrs. Dixon, has been a constant vigilance in protecting the academic interests of our Wawasee students. And, I can think of no higher praise than that and for that I thank you, Mrs. Dixon,” Bokhart said.

Board Secretary Rebecca Linnemeier told Dixon, “We’re going to miss you.”

Also during Tuesday’s Board meeting, Troyer announced Dr. Tom Edington, who retired as superintendent in December after 13 years, was the recipient of the Indiana School Boards Association Lorin A. Burt Outstanding Educator Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Education. He was a superintendent for a total of 25 years, and worked in public schools for a total of 46 years. Edington was presented the award at a conference in Indianapolis on Monday.

“This prestigious award is given annually to an outstanding educator for overall excellence and contributions to Indiana education. So, congrats, Tom,” Troyer said.

Linnemeier said, “It’s a pretty big award. It’s probably the biggest award an Indiana educator can get, so there’s one awarded every year at the fall (ISBA) conference. There’s a full committee that the ISBA puts together and it was unanimously decided that he (Edington) deserved it.”

She said Edington got a standing ovation from a room of about 500 people. She said his speech was very good and he kept it short.

“I think my wife had to hear it on the way down (to Indianapolis),” Edington said. “A time or two.”

He thanked the Wawasee School Board. “Having a long-tenured Board helps superintendents to be there and through the change process and be able to be recognized,” he said.

Linnemeier, with the help of Wawasee Director of Finance and Legal Services James Flecker, nominated Edington. Linnemeier said there was a lot of stuff to compile for the nomination.

Troyer also told the Board that for the first time in Wawasee High School history, the Wawasee Marching Warrior Pride qualified for the state competition that will be held Oct. 23. The marching band earned a gold rating at the ISSMA Scholastic Class Competition Oct. 9 at Plymouth, which automatically qualifies them to move on to the Scholastic Class State Finals Oct. 23 at Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis.

“Kudos to the band. That was really exciting news,” Troyer said.

Bokhart asked Troyer to get band representatives to the Board meeting in November to congratulate them in personally.

In other business, the Board:

• Adopted the 2022 budget, capital projects plan and bus replacement plan as advertised. The public hearing was Sept. 12.

• Approved three out-of-state and/or overnight trips. One is for the marching band trip to Indianapolis Oct. 22-23 for the state contest; one is for the band’s trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.; and the third is for WHS DECA officers to travel to Scottsdale, Ariz.