Dr. Richard Rutherford is the new superintendent for the Salem School Corporation. Rutherford has been in the education field for 29 years. In those years, he has been a teacher, principal and superintendent for other schools such as Vincennes and Rockport. Rutherford has also coached swim teams for about 20 years. While teaching he also created an alternative education program for one of his schools.
When asked what inspired Rutherford to pursue education, he said that when he was in college his uncle told him to write down what he enjoys in life and then find a way he could make money doing it. When thinking of something he enjoyed, Rutherford said that it kept coming back to kids. He had always enjoyed teaching swim lessons and getting to know all of the kids. Teaching soon came across his mind as an option and he immediately knew that it was what he wanted to do.
Rutherford came across a job opening for a superintendent at Salem Schools. He said he always loves a good challenge, so he looked into the opening. He wanted to get a feel for Salem so he stayed for a weekend with his family. “The people were amazing,” he said. “They are invested in the community” and “are in it for the right reason.” It didn’t take much convincing for Rutherford to accept the opening. Rutherford said, “everything was kind of a light bulb moment” referring to both his idea to pursue education and his coming to Salem.
With Rutherford’s arrival, some changes will be taking place. He hopes to improve the “climate and culture” for school staff and community while making it a main focus. Rutherford quoted Mary Poppins when adding onto his thought of improvement, “for every job that has to be done there is an element of fun.” He also stated that, “it's good to work hard but it’s also okay to have a good time while doing it.”
Rutherford wants teachers and students to come to school and enjoy it and feel that it is a safe space. Rutherford also said test scores, facility upkeep, and financials will also be a main focus for him.