Western Wayne Schools’ superintendent is pleased that workers are quickly giving Lincoln Middle School a bright new look, an esports program is starting with help from a grant, and at least two school board incumbents say they won’t run this fall.


During WWS’ June 5 board meeting, Superintendent Andy Stover said he wants residents to see the fresh new look for Lincoln Middle School and said their tax dollars are being put to good use. He said he’s “elated” about the progress to date. 

This $630,000 phase is improving academic spaces. Everything from walls to flooring and ceilings in classrooms and hallways and restrooms is being updated. 

The public will be invited during July 24-25 registration, or they can ask Stover for a tour. 

The next $12.2 million phase of prioritized improvements and deferred maintenance could start this fall. 

It will include reroofing both Lincoln Middle/High School and Western Wayne Elementary School, giving a face-lift to LMHS academic areas and updating athletic facilities. WWES will install new desks for teachers and students, replacing its originals from 1996.

The new bond issue comes as a previous bond issue expires, so property owners won’t see a tax increase. 


An attendee asked about board member plans for November’s school board election.

Alan Austin and Sarah Pennington said they won’t file. Both have served about eight years. Austin said he thinks he should step aside for someone who has kids in school and is more connected to daily operations. David Sturgis said he’s undecided at this time. 

The filing deadline at Wayne County Courthouse is noon Thursday, June 20. 


Seeing job and scholarship opportunities in esports, WWS received a $33,800 digital learning grant from Indiana Department of Education to create a program at LMHS. The grant will fund 10 devices and a stipend and training for its adviser. 

Lincoln alumnus Chase Neukam became St. Cloud State University’s esports director in 2023 and will share his expertise, along with Jacob Payne, who owns Retro Jake’s in Richmond. Some students will be able to participate for 90 minutes during Future Focused Fridays and during evening/weekend events. They want LHS to reach state competitions and host tournaments.  

Student handbook

Handbook changes were approved on topics such as metal detector usage, dress code violations, attendance, food and drinks in school buildings, probation and suspensions, and mobile phone usage.

Athletes who fail a drug test won’t be banned forever from participating after their third offense. While supporting consequences, administrators will focus on connecting them with treatment in hopes of motivating them to play again the next school year. 

In other business

WWS will continue splitting time with Blue River Valley Schools for technology director Ben Burris, and its contract with Sodexo Services of Indiana will increase 3.5%. 

It also approved an agreement with state officials to pursue students’ debt of at least $25 if parents haven’t paid after receiving WWS communication, including reducing personal income tax refunds.

All school and administration offices are open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-noon this summer.

Approved donations in May and June include $700 from World Central and $200 from MediCenter Pharmacy for the end-of-year field day; $1,000, American Legion Post 169 (baseball); $750, Contract Industrial Tooling (football); $500, ABC E-Z Self Storage (FFA). Several were for Business Professionals of America: $500, M & M Electrical Services; Robert Ammerman, $150; First Bank Richmond, $250; Natco Credit Union, $250; Johns Mansville, $500; MediCenter Pharmacy, $500; Blue Buffalo, $700. 

Recent personnel updates 

  • The board renewed noncertified contracts for Peggy Huesman, Robin Hokey, Betty Huddleston, Ben Burris, Jordan Scruggs, Stacie Huffine, Jan Lunsford, Shelly Brumfiel, Kim Pattison, Bethany McClain and Jeff Riggle.
  • The board announced it would table a renewal of administration contracts for Renee Lakes, Matt Davis, Elizabeth Miller, Matt Truesdell and Chad Lieberman until the next meeting. 
  • Hires: Ashley Strait, pre-K lead teacher; Emma Berger, third grade teacher; Dylan Miller, varsity girls basketball coach; Heather Morrow, summer school English; Julie Buhl and Kari Christie for elementary summer school; Amy Bex, LMHS part-time library aide; Courtney Diercks, reserve girls basketball coach.
  • Departures: Sarah Morehouse, LMHS ag teacher; Gayle Scruggs, second grade teacher; Diana Bell, RTI math teacher.
  • Retirement: Beth Bowman, choir teacher.

The board’s next public meeting is 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, in Room 80 at LMHS, 205 E. Parkway Drive. It’s accessible from Door 33.  

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A version of this article appeared in the June 12 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.