“Great educator, community leader and family man” Paul Ketcham was introduced as the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year by Batesville Community School Corp. board President Jeremy Raver Jan. 30 at the annual dinner celebrating the group’s 100th anniversary.

The 20-year educator has served as the BCSC superintendent since January 2017. His leadership has been all about learning in this digital age.

That spring the district was awarded a $75,000 Indiana Department of Education Digital Learning Grant, which supported sustainable, thoughtful 1:1 implementation (one computer for each student).

Raver reported, “BCSC focused on the next level of technology integration with flexible learning spaces, classrooms geared to empower students and facilitate active learning.” To help fund the initiative, the Batesville Community Education Foundation conducted its first annual campaign, making an initial $20,000 donation to BCSC in 2017, $30,000 in 2018 and $20,000 in 2019 to purchase innovative furniture for various grades. “For those keeping track, that’s $70,000 to improve our classrooms!”

Last year BCSC was awarded another IDOE Digital Learning Grant to implement a comprehensive K-12 computer science curriculum.

Also in 2019, both Batesville High School and Batesville Middle School earned the coveted IDOE Four Star Schools designation for the 2017-18 school year.

The Batesville Community School Corp.’s mission is to educate all students in an environment of academic excellence, preparing them for productive and responsible citizenship in a global community, the presenter and father of two in the district pointed out. “We also have a vision statement that ‘Together we empower every student to believe in better.’ Paul has a constant drive for continuous improvement and those of us who work closely with him know that he is always asking, ‘What’s best for kids?’”

The Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents 2020 Superintendent of the Year for District VIII started his career with various area teaching and coaching positions. Ketcham previously served as Milan Community School Corp. superintendent for three years. During his tenure, the 1,150-student district experienced the largest increase in ISTEP+ scores in the state, 14.3%, in both math and English/language arts in 2014.

Ketcham is the board president of two facilities related to his career, Southeastern Career Center and Wilson Education Center. The Batesville Kiwanis Club president also is a board member of BCEF and the Batesville Area Arts Council and Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce past board member.

The East Central High School graduate earned a B.S. degree in biological sciences and secondary education from Northern Kentucky University, M.A. degree in education – curriculum and instruction from Olivet Nazarene University, and Principals Licensure Program and Educational Specialist degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.

The Bright native and Morris resident with wife Krista have three children: Maddy, 21; Mitch, 19; and Mary Kate, 15.

Ketcham accepted the award by saying he is thankful for the opportunity to serve the community as superintendent. “Each year, I am amazed at the amount of support our schools receive from our stakeholders, businesses and civic groups.”

He noted it’s an honor “ensuring our most precious resource — our children — receive a world-class education, embedded with extracurricular opportunities from A to Z.

“I want tonight’s award to be a reflection of the daily efforts of our employees at Batesville Community School Corp. There are so many moving parts in a school system: transporting and feeding thousands of students, answering phones, scheduling appointments, cleaning and maintaining over 520,000 square feet of facilities, thousands of visits to our school health clinics, maintaining over 2,300 computers and, of course, providing the education that this community deserves and has come to expect.

“I want this award to reflect the efforts of our administrative team and 300+ employees who invest in our children daily.

“I also want this award to reflect the support I receive at home. My wife Krista and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in December. She does so much behind the scenes, and it allows me to make numerous professional commitments and go above and beyond while serving this community. And for the record: She is one lucky gal!” he said to laughter.

Last summer the honoree and BHS principal Andy Allen visited Rolls Royce to learn more about its high-performance culture to replicate the company’s system of cultural beliefs and phrases here. Ketcham reported, “I wanted to build a culture focused on people working together to improve student outcomes and achievements. We are working on this now, ... intentionally building a culture where all people are empowered to grow.”

He offered the crowd two phrases. The first one to ask yourself, loved ones and children: ”What shadow do you cast? Do you add energy to the room, or do you blow out the flame?”

The second phrase: “Say what you appreciate about the people you work for, and for people who work for you. Tell them that you appreciate their attitude, their performance, their leadership, their ability to make a difference. Additionally, tell those you love — those you hold most dear — what you appreciate about them. Never pass up the opportunity to tell them you recognize skills they display that make them better people.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-717-3113.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-717-3113.