Dr. James Callane photo

On July 1, Maconaquah School Corporation will have a new-but-familiar face serving as superintendent.

Dr. James Callane, who has worked at Maconaquah for 20 years, will transition from his current position of assistant superintendent to superintendent as the successor of Dr. Doug Arnold, who is retiring in June.

“I am humbled and honored to have been selected as Maconaquah’s next superintendent by our local school board,” Callane said. “This is a position I have been working toward since I got into administration.”

He said he is excited to bring his “own leadership style to the table —- one that brings a high level of energy and passion for our Maconaquah community and a knack for fiscal responsibility.”

Callane cited Daniel Goleman’s book, “Primal Leadership,” to illustrate the importance of a workplace climate.

Goleman states 20-30 percent of an organization’s performance can be attributed to its climate, and 50-70 percent of that climate is determined by the actions of the organization’s leader.

Callane said Maconaquah hires and retains “the best” teachers, administrators, and staff, and he will “be their biggest cheerleader.”

“We let them do what they are great at doing — educating students,” he said.

Callane’s wife, Christi, and their two children, Josie and Jude, are “very excited about the opportunity,” and he also comes from a family line of educators. His mother was an elementary school teacher, and his father was an athletic director.

Callane is a graduate of Kokomo High School, Wabash College, he earned his Masters Degree and administrative license from Ball State University, and he earned his Doctorate of Education and superintendent license from Oakland City University.

Prior to working as assistant principal and principal of Maconaquah Middle School, Callane taught history and English at Northwestern Middle School.

Arnold congratulated Callane on his new position, and he said he looks forward to staying up-to-date with Maconaquah’s success in his retirement.

“I wish Dr. Callane and his family the best. I know that he will continue the great things that he has helped to implement,” Arnold said.

Newly-appointed Maconaquah School Board President Robert Daine said he looks forward to working with Callane, and his experience will make for an “easy transition.”

“I have always thought that his enthusiasm for our school was second to none,” Daine said. “He has the ability to bring the best out in people, and he wants to make our school the best it can be.”

Callane doesn’t foresee many major changes in the day-to-day operation at Maconaquah. The assistant superintendent position he currently occupies will be absorbed as a cost-savings measure, which will lead him to “lean on” the other administrators. Beyond that, Callane said Maconaquah will continue to inspire and empower its students “to take control of their learning.”

In his 23 years in public education, Callane said he has learned a lot, specifically about developing positive relationships with students. He said he used to think things were “very black and white.” He quickly realized that answers “are not so black and white,” and all students come with their own stories and backgrounds.

“I have always felt that building positive relationships with students is the most important thing we can do as educators,” he said. “When I see former students in the community, I cannot recall a time where they said, ‘Hey, remember that test you gave me back in 8th grade?’ The questions are always about the relational part of school.”