The Benton Review

BCSC begins search for new superintendent

At the Feb. 13 regular meeting, the Benton Community School Corporation School Board voted to enter into a contract with Indiana School Boards Association Superintendent Search Services to manage the upcoming search process.

The position became available when Superintendent Dr. Scott Van Der Aa submitted a letter of resignation effective June 30, 2023 that was accepted at the Jan. 11, 2023 regular school board meeting, according to the meeting minutes posted on the BCSC web site.

“I consider it a great honor and privilege to have been given the opportunity to serve our students, staff and community as the superintendent for Benton Community School Corporation,” said Van Der Aa. “I am proud of so many accomplishments that have happened within our schools over the past 2+ years that are a direct result of our students, staff and community working together.”

School Board President Holli Schoen said finding a new superintendent will be at least a four-month process. The other consultant companies being considered mentioned that they would reach out to ISBA as needed.


Accepted minutes of the regular meeting on Jan. 11 and the executive session and work session on February 6. Accepted vouchers and financial reports.


Recognized donations and thanked donors for supporting BCSC programs. Listed fund raisers. Details are available on the BCSC web page under school board minutes.

Second reading of Board Policy 5771- Neola. In Indiana, Neola is an independent provider of policy service. The purpose is to be sure school board policies are legally compliant and represent the educational philosophy of each school district. Neola offers policy and guideline updates to its 211 clients in Indiana.


Benton Central Jr.-Sr. High School Principal Mr. Robb recapped Hardcourt Spirit Week which is winter homecoming. BC Senior High Student Council organized this year’s Disney inspired themes: Monsters University (wear college gear); Sleeping Beauty (wear pajamas); Lilo and Stitch (wear Hawaiian); Little Mermaid’s Thingamabobs (carry anything but a backpack); Princess and the Frog (wear green and gold). A Pep Session featured fun games and cheers. Teachers nominated five senior males (Colten Adams, Holden Deno, Josh Etter, Owen Kottkamp, RJ Martinez) and five senior females (Cassie Burgett, Lydia Doyle, Lexie Richey, Janell Robson, Ava Sayre) to the Hardcourt Court; students then voted to select Owen Kottkamp as king and Lydia Doyle as queen. Hardcourt was also Alumni Night for the Pep Band which had a great turnout. Seniors won the best sheet contest with their Beauty and the Beast entry.

Otterbein Elementary School Principal Mr. Toll outlined some of the activities during Random Acts of Kindness Week coordinated by Mrs. Ziembo. An anonymous person stopped by the school today and made a donation to pay off some students’ meal accounts because the donor said it is Random Acts of Kindness Week. “It will really help to get some of those accounts paid down,” said Toll.

The Kids Heart Challenge, formerly Jump Rope for Heart, kicked off with a convocation. The focus is on healthy lifestyles and ways to keep our bodies healthy. Students will be working on collecting donations for The American Heart Association.

Otterbein School has welcomed two student teachers in grade 1 with Mrs. Jenkins and in grade 4 with Ms. Widmer.

The elementary girls’ basketball season ends this week and Toll thanked the team and coaches for their efforts. The elementary tournament is upcoming.

Prairie Crossing Elementary School Principal Mr. Kuckartz congratulated the school’s Spelling Bee participants and winner Truman Besse and runner up Hudson Sloniger who will be representing PCE at the next level.

Assistant Principal Mrs. Barr arranged for Wes Richardson, the 4-H Educator, to come and present some STEM lessons with the tech teacher and the fifth graders including structural engineering, electrical grids, and coding. He will be returning in April to work with the third graders.

Third graders are preparing for IREAD in March.

PTO is sponsoring a Dance a Thon on February 24 (time TBA) to raise funds for new playground equipment. Students will be asking family and friends to sponsor them to dance, and the profit will be 100% of donations collected. The goal is $15 per student. Parents are welcome to dress up and dance with their children.

Kuckartz recognized the basketball players and coaches for their hard work and efforts and good luck at tourney.


Benton Central Jr.-Sr. High School: Kyha Campbell nominated by Mr. Church and Shayne Alaniz nominated by Mrs. McMillan

Otterbein Elementary School: Kenzie Oswald nominated by Mrs. Ziembo and Eva Morales nominated by Mrs. Whaley

Prairie Crossing Elementary School: Ariela Ramos Fuentes nominated by Mrs. Heigle and Cali Budreau nominated by Mrs. Briles


Accepted the staff report and other personnel items. Approved an overnight retreat for Every 15 Minutes participants. Approved an overnight trip for Business Professionals of America to go to the BPA State conference in Indianapolis. Appointed Sara Wallpe to the Earl Park Public Library Board of Trustees. Approved the disposal of old outstanding checks. Approved the ISBA Superintendent Search Services consultant choice from four companies being considered. Approved the resolution to invest funds with The Hoosier Fund to take advantage of better interest rates; funds can be moved at any time.


Board member Scott Robertson invited everyone to the BC 7-12 school play on March 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. and March 5 at 2:30 p.m. The play is Murder by Membership Only. The students have been rehearsing the drama since December.

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