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Powers ready to lead Morristown to new heights

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

MORRISTOWN — From 2003 to 2005, Jeremy Powers and his Tri High School girls basketball team battled with Morristown High School.

The Yellow Jackets came out on top in all three meetings.

Seven years later, Powers – now at Eastern Hancock – renewed those battles with Morristown. This time, over the next four years, his alma mater got the better end of the Yellow Jackets each time.

It’s through those years as the head coach that Powers became familiar with Morristown, where he now holds the principal position.

Coaching at Tri, Morristown was “always a tough out,” he said.

When he went to Eastern Hancock, he remembered playing Mike Smith’s teams, which won two sectional championships during that stretch.

“We always had a lot of fun battles,” he said, adding he remembered some of the players from that time. “Knowing the athletic side of it, and knowing it’s such a competitive nature around here and how they are wanting to be successful in that aspect, along with the academic portion, it’s just a perfect fit.”

Powers takes over for the retiring Ken Howell, whose final day is at the end of the month. Powers most recently was the assistant principal at North Decatur Jr./ Sr. High School.

While there, he wore several hats, from handing out discipline to serving as the school testing coordinator to leading the weekly junior high staff meetings.

“The fact that I was able to see so many different hats and be able to see things from a different perspective on each thing we did, I think is going to allow me to come in here and take what I’ve learned, different leadership things and apply it to what I can hopefully do here at Morristown,” he said in his temporary office – the library – while construction began in the main office.

Powers, 39, finished up his 17th year in education this past school year.

He spent 13 years in the classroom at Tri Elementary, located seven miles south of New Castle, before moving on to North Decatur for the assistant principal position.

A graduate of Eastern Hancock and Marian University in Indianapolis, he admitted he is more comfortable at small schools.

“My goal is to be here a long time and to really just continue building on what Morristown, the good things they are doing, and to take it to another level,” he said.

Powers had been looking for a principal position for awhile when he found out about Morristown’s opening. He reached out to some community members, who shared positive insights, which encouraged him to apply.

He called it the “perfect opportunity” because of its small size.

“Everybody’s wanting to do nothing but look out for each other and make sure the kids are successful, the school is successful, the community is invested in the school,” he said.

After the Shelby Eastern school board voted 7-0 in favor of hiring him as Morristown’s principal, he said his short-term goal was to get to know the students and staff in his first year.

Long term, he said a week later in the library, that he wanted to see test scores continue to improve, particularly in the junior high. He also wants to see Morristown return to being an “A” school.

“Ken Howell’s done a nice job with this school, building the morale back up, so I want to continue to take that morale and just build upon it and create a positive culture,” he said.

The community is already proud of the school, he said, and while he wants to continue that, he also wants to bring more students into the district by building on that positivity.

“We know we’re fighting for kids,” he said. “Our job is to retain the kids that we already have, prevent the kids from leaving by doing that creative, positive culture, putting students first, and every decision we’re going to make is what is in the best interest of our students. If we do that, I think we will continue to be successful here.”

He plans to sit down with every faculty member before the start of the school year to get to know them and to start building positive relationships.

His wife, Kim, will continue to teach third grade at Eastern Hancock Elementary while the family continues to finish a new home. Their son, Caden, will be entering Eastern Hancock Middle School in the upcoming school year.