Hensley fills vacant MCS board seat

By Eric Christiansen

NORTH MANCHESTER -- A Manchester High School graduate is the newest member of the Manchester Community Schools Board of Trustees.

Mike Hensley assumed the Pleasant Township seat vacancy on the board left by Nate Trump during a short meeting Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Hensley was one of four people interviewed by the board for to seat in a public meeting Wednesday, Jan. 23. Other candidates were Val Slack, Brian Rainer and Shawn Bellinger.

Board member Rick Espeset nominated Hensley for the vacant seat. No other candidates were nominated, and after a motion to second the nomination, and a 5-0 vote, Hensley was appointed.

Board members Brice Bedke Steve Flack, Dave Terflinger, Ruth Ayres and Espeset voted in favor of Hensley's appointment Ben Vanderpool was absent.

Hensley, a 1984 MHS graduate, said he wasn't sure he was going to submit a letter of interest in the position.

“I didn't know what Nate (Trump) was going to do, so I said let's see if anyone goes after it,” Hensley said. “I threw my name in the hat.

“It's all about the kids, and that's why I wanted to be on the school board.”

Hensley has a deep appreciation for education with a degree in robotics electrical engineering from Vincennes University, a Bachelor's Degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and MBA from Saint Francis University, and is a member of the Learn More Center board.

“When I think about education, it is economic development, national security, and it is hope for these kids,” he said. “I believe everybody is born with a purpose, and in our schools, we need to do a better job finking their purpose and align them to those,” he said.

As the newest member of the MCS board, Hensley shared some priorities he believes important for the longevity of Manchester schools.

“I think the important things are, number one, getting a strong superintendent in there, someone who is going to be there …,” he said. “We have to make sure we have policies in place for a long-term plan.

“I want MCS to still exist in the future when consolidation is talked about,” he continued.

Hensley explained that student enrollment size is a problem if it become too large, thus, potentially adding more problems that already exist.

“There are two important functions in our society, teachers and police, two of the lowest paid entities, with people working dual jobs,” Hensley said. “If you look at what they are facing, the problems don't start in the school, but they are there because the kids are there together. I don't believe in 2,000 kids (in a school); 500 is hard enough.”

Hensley, who teaches older adults, said what's missing is critical thinking that goes with curriculum.

“We look at it in the market place,” he said. “What type of students do we need to manufacture to fill those spots? It should be giving them ability in an entrepreneurial way to create the economy.

“They are going to be our future leaders. What I want to do is see that they are better leaders than we are.”

As a board member, Hensley said he is ready to join the team and do his part.

“I want to help build a strong team on the school board. I'm not a buy-in guys, I'm a be-in guy,” he said. “Transparency may be overused, but bad communication and surprises, people don't like. There has to be a level of transparency, but there is also information that can't be shared.

“A school board is in place to represent the people for a reason.”

With so many moving elements that go with running a school system, ensuring a strong education and helping students grow into future leaders, Hensley stressed the most important element.

“In a nutshell, it's all about the kids,” he said. “I care about the stakeholders, property owners, taxpayers, of course. I care about all the good, hard working people in the school working with these kids, and we have a lot of those people.
“And, it's all about the kids.”

Posted on 2019 Feb 05