An interest in crunching numbers plus experience in operating a business equaled a new job opportunity for a Brownstown native.
Jade Peters, who has been a teacher and coach with Brownstown Central Community School Corp. since 2004, received his administrator license six years ago and said he had an interest in taking on some type of leadership role.
When he learned the corporation’s current business manager, Harry Rochner, was going to retire Oct. 31, Peters applied for the job.
Superintendent Greg Walker recently called Peters to let him know he landed the position.
“I said, ‘Fantastic,’” Peters said of his reaction to that call. “I was pretty relieved, pretty excited. When you look for something for so long, it’s just a goal that I’ve always looked at.”
In his current position, Peters teaches a couple of math classes and oversees the Project Lead the Way engineering program, working 185 days per year for a salary of $57,716.
As business manager, he will receive an initial two-year contract with 260 working days per year at $83,500 annually. He will start in that role July 1.
Walker said nine people applied for the job, and five were selected for interviews with him, the seven school board members and corporation treasurer Patsy Hess.
“After interviews were completed, the committee felt Jade was the best fit for the position,” Walker said. “Jade knows he has big shoes to fill following Harry. But with his work ethic, passion for the job and educational background, he will be successful.
“I look forward to developing a strong working relationship with Jade and working with him toward keeping Brownstown Central schools fiscally sound in order to provide for the educational needs of our students and preparing them for the future.”
Peters, a 1997 Browns-town Central High School graduate, earned bachelor’s degrees in math and education and a minor in computer science from Franklin College in 2002.
He taught at East Central High School from 2002 to 2004 before teaching at Brownstown Central Middle School for five years and then moving to the high school. During that time, he earned his master’s degree in education and his administrator license.
Since graduating from high school, he also has operated his own business, A+ Outdoor Services.
Peters said he wanted to apply for administrative positions in the past, but some of those jobs were eliminated because of budget cuts.
“These last six years of having my principal license, I’ve tried to keep my head high and say, ‘All right, the good Lord has a plan, and I just have to roll with it,’” he said.
Of all of the administrative jobs out there, Peters said business manager was the one he thought he would enjoy the most. That’s why he didn’t hesitate to apply when he learned of an opening.
“(Rochner) has had these budget meetings in July every year, and I’ve been going to that ever since I got my principal license,” Peters said. “That kind of reinforced that, ‘Hey, I would like to do this, too.’ Not very many people would say that about a budget meeting because they are two or three hours long of just sitting there crunching numbers and talking about this and that.”
But there has to be people willing to do that type of job, and Peters said it was just right for him.
“That’s the thing about any successful business or corporation anywhere, it takes a diverse group of people to be successful,” he said. “I’m not going to be the best at everything, but this is a strength of mine I feel like I can do along with my managing skills.”
Since the school board approved Peters’ hiring, he will soon begin taking classes to become certified with the Indiana Association of School Business Officials. He has to have 99 credit hours to be certified. Then to maintain that certification, he will have to have 150 continuing education hours within a span of five years.
Peters said he will take some of those classes during the workday and hopes to have his 99 credit hours in two or three years. In those classes, he will learn about the different aspects of the business manager job, including budgeting, transportation and maintenance.
“They cover every little aspect of it, which is really kind of cool because it really allows you to see everything that goes on,” Peters said.
“But it’s something that I really like, too,” he said. “I don’t like doing the same thing all of the time, so that was another thing about this job that I thought was really appealing to me was you’re managing several different areas of the corporation, so you’re always going to be dealing with something different.”
Along with the classes, Peters will receive four months of on-the-job training with Rochner, who has been in his position for more than 25 years.
“I’m really excited to have that because jumping into this job without Harry right there next to you would be very tough,” Peters said.
“When I took my principal classes in 2010, part of our job duties was we had to go meet with our business manager or superintendent, whoever ran your finances, and you had to take those to our class,” he said. “When I went up there, Brownstown had some of the best numbers out of everybody in my class. It made me realize how good of a job Harry does.”
Peters said Rochner has done a great job during his tenure and is going to be missed.
“There are some very big shoes to fill,” Peters said. “To me, it’s one of the key jobs in the corporation because obviously, the finances, but just being behind the scenes with the building projects, with all he has got to prepare for every school board meeting … I really feel like Harry has been the glue for many years in our corporation, and he’s done just a fabulous job at that.”
While Peters said he is excited about getting started in his new job, he said it will be different not working with faculty and students on a daily basis.
The corporation is in the process of filling Peters’ position at the high school, and he’s glad to hear Project Lead the Way will continue. He averages 50 students per year in that program and also has overseen the school’s robotics team.
“I’m going to miss everybody I work with here, there’s no doubt about that. But I think everybody seems to be pretty supportive so far, so that’s good,” he said.
“It’s kind of a different role, different outlook on the corporation, a different outlook on everybody that you’re working with,” he said. “I am really excited about that, and hopefully, they are patient with me on learning everything new and giving me a little time.”
Name: Jade Peters
Education: Brownstown Central High School (1997); Franklin College (bachelor’s degrees in math and education and a minor in computer science, 2002; also played football for four years); Olivet Nazarene University (master’s degree in education, 2008); Indiana State University (administrator license, 2010)
Occupation: Teacher at East Central High School (2002 to 2004); teacher and coach with Brownstown Central Community School Corp. (2004 to present); owner of A+ Outdoor Services (1997 to present)
Family: Children, Paisleigh, 9, and Prather, 6; parents, Harlann and Betty Peters