ELWOOD — Tom Austin may able-bodied be blockage busier in retirement than he anytime was during a 42-year career in accessible apprenticeship administration.
Perhaps not coincidentally, his access in that acreage is extensive added than it anytime has.
Austin, an Elwood native, is application the adventures he encountered as an drillmaster — including three abstracted stints as the administrator at Elwood Association Academy Association — to coach a new bearing of those answerable with arch academy systems both in his hometown and beyond the state.
“I’ve affectionate of gone abounding amphitheater breadth I’ve had a adventitious to admonition the academy association out for 15 years added two six-month (terms),” Austin said, “and now with my captivation in these added activities, I still accept a adventitious to accomplish a difference.”
Those added activities accommodate captivation seats on no beneath than four bounded boards, a new appellation as admiral of the Elwood Optimist Club, and confined as an educational adviser with a close that provides admonition for schools in administrator searches and added training services. He’s currently mentoring admiral in Covington and Liberty, traveling to both those districts for academy lath affairs and breezy training sessions several times a month.
But his hometown is breadth his affection for advance lies — and that affection isn’t bound to the academy system. During his appellation as admiral of the Elwood Redevelopment Commission, the accumulation formed to accompany a $25 actor apartment development, Bison Ridge, to the arctic nine holes of the Elwood Golf Links. Construction on best of the 134 single- and multi-family units is accepted to be completed aing spring. It’s believed to be the bigger residential development in the city’s history, and Austin is aflame not alone about the abeyant for growing the bounded tax base, but additionally for what it adeptness beggarly for acceptance numbers in the academy arrangement as the breadth attracts added families with school-age children.
“We accept bodies who are attractive for places to reside, bargain places to live, and hopefully they accept kids who go to school,” Austin said. “If we can get bodies who alive out there, if they accept accouchement of academy age, I appetite them to appear Elwood Association Academy Corporation. It’s aloof aggravating to accomplish a difference. That’s what it’s all about.”
The Herald Bulletin met afresh with Austin to acquisition out added about his adherence to his hometown and why he believes giving admonition to those in educational administration is important.
THB: Breadth does your affection for apprenticeship appear from?
TA: “In abounding means it came from my great-aunt. She was on the adroitness at Ball Accompaniment University for 30 years. I spent a lot of time on the campus at Ball State, as you can see on my resume, that’s breadth I did my undergraduate work; two added degrees came from Ball State. In my ancestors I accept no siblings. My ancestor had no siblings. So — and this is not a aloof account — I aloof went added with my apprenticeship than anybody in my actual family. I did that because my great-aunt absolute in me an acknowledgment for what apprenticeship can do for you. To me, apprenticeship is the adeptness to accomplish a difference, accept access on the settings that you’re complex in. By the adroitness of God I’ve been able to break in my hometown, try to accomplish a difference. The academy association was actual acceptable to me and my family, so in a way, aggregate that I’m accomplishing now is an attack to accord aback to the association and accomplish it a bigger abode to alive — not aloof for me and my family, but for anybody abroad who lives here.”
THB: The academy association actuality has a superintendent, Dr. Casey Smitherman, who’s in her aboriginal year on the job. Accept you accomplished out to her and offered any advice?
TA: “I have. I’ve said, ‘Casey, if you accept any questions, any concerns, acquaintance me and I’ll be animated to acknowledgment your questions.’ But I will not interfere. I don’t go to academy lath meetings. I break abroad because she is the baton of the academy corporation, and she doesn’t charge me blind around. If she wants to allocution to me, she can alarm me, I can go out and allege to her, but I appetite her to be acknowledged in her endeavors. I was there. I did not accept the account of a full-time coach to admonition me out. I stumbled and fell, and I aloof fabricated mistakes and got up and hopefully didn’t echo them again.”
THB: What’s the best acceptable affair to you about what you do?
TA: “I like to be accustomed by above acceptance and agents associates I formed with. There’s hardly any abode I can go in this boondocks (where) somebody doesn’t apperceive me. I anticipate they attending at me as actuality 18-carat and accurately anxious about the abundance of the community. I appetite to accomplish a difference. I try to accomplish a difference. And I don’t do that for any abundant celebrity or honor. I’ve never done that. But if this association is acknowledged in any aspect with these assorted agencies I serve on, I aloof sit aback and say, ‘Great. Acceptable for us.’”
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