As he peered over his professorial spectacles at his computer screen and purposefully typed emails, Jim Doane appeared to be adjusting quite well to his new role as assistant superintendent in the Valparaiso Community School (VCS) system. The former Valparaiso High School principal had every intention of retiring at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. In early August, however, Doane received a call from new VCS superintendent Mike Berta requesting his help getting Valparaiso schools back on track.
“I thought about it, and what really made a big difference to me was how many people helped and supported me as a student and principal in Valpo,” Doane said. “And that maybe in some small way I could return the favor for all those who helped me and my family.”
All in all, Doane considered the transition from high school principal to assistant superintendent to have been fairly smooth, mainly due to his familiarity with the Valparaiso school system.
“When you know the people beforehand, as well as the challenges you face, you can really hit the ground running,” Doane said.
According to Doane, the most striking difference compared to his former post is the atmosphere in his new office, located in the school administrative building on Campbell Street.
“It’s a completely different routine,” Doane said. “No bells, no buses, no kids coming by my office. It’s a little shock to the system after being in the school house all those years.”
Doane’s years as a student at Valpo, as well his work as a school principal, give him a realistic vision of how to get the Valpo school system back on track. According to Doane, the financial challenges facing the Valpo schools, challenges that are being faced by businesses everyday nationwide, are better viewed as opportunities than barriers. That’s just what the students and teachers in Valpo are doing. As Valpo schools work to determine what the future may hold, Doane’s vision remains simple yet compelling.
“I want everybody to work hard, have fun, and enjoy the spirit of competition, and reflect on their days in school as an important foundation for their success later in life,” Doane said.
In addition to his work with the Valparaiso school system, Doane is heavily invested in the community through his involvement with several different boards dealing with education, including the Boys and Girls Club and Family and Youth Services.
Born and raised in Valparaiso, Doane reflected that the city is a place to form lifelong friendships and a great environment in which to raise a family.
“I love the same thing that everyone else loves about Valpo: there’s a highly professional community, high expectations and standards,” Doane said. “It’s a community that respects our city officials, our school systems, and social service agencies, which provides a high quality of life. Everything is here for the taking, and there are lots of good people here.”
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