UPDATE: School City of Mishawaka welcomes new superintendent

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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - The School City of Mishawaka has a new superintendent. On Wednesday night, board members voted to bring Wayne Barker into the position.

With a decade of experience as a superintendent, Barker said he’s honored and excited to continue the excellence of Mishawaka schools. He spent the last 24 years in the once financially distressed Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District, near Fort Wayne.

It’s what he did there that attracted Mishawaka. For instance, his former district had a cash balance of about $9,000. And in just seven years, Barker grew that number to nearly $2.2 million.

He also increased declining enrollment by 21 percent, with 16 percent of those students coming from outside the district.

Mishawaka attracted Barker in a unique way. They knew what they wanted and did a closed recruitment process in which they reached out to strong superintendent candidates.

Barker admitted he loved his district and probably would never have left if not for the process and the excellence at Mishawaka.

"I realize that things are going well here," Barker said. "This is not a place that needs a superintendent to come in and change everything. That would be a mistake, and it’s not a mistake that I will make. I will come here, I plan to capitalize on the momentum that already exists here so that we can continue to create a culture of excellence in this school district.”

"He took over a school system that was under a great deal of stress, and now it's just off the charts in terms of staff morale, which indicates to us that he's very good at working with people," Mishawaka School Board President Dr. Richard Currey said.

Barker will have a three-year contract and he’ll take over for current Superintendent Dr. Dean Speicher July 1.