Adam Harpring is well aware that Brent Baker was beloved at Loper Elementary School.
The “King of Loperland,” as Baker was dubbed at a year-end student convocation that allowed students and staff members to say goodbye, will be moving onto the high school as the new principal as part of a shuffle made by Shelbyville Central Schools. Baker is going to the high school as a result of Kathleen Miltz becoming the assistant superintendent. Current assistant superintendent Mary Harper was hired as the interim superintendent as a result of David Adams’ retirement.
Harpring, who briefly served as Coulston Elementary’s assistant principal after teaching at Hendricks Elementary, was hired as Baker’s replacement at Loper.
“Big, big shoes to fill,” Harpring said on Friday. “He and I have very similar personalities and it’s a great staff. I’m really excited to get rolling working with the staff and at the end of the day, you just have to be here for the kids.”
Harpring became the assistant principal at Coulston during the second semester of the 2017-18 school year after Jaci Greig took another position elsewhere. He served in that role for the 2018-19 school year before the opportunity presented itself to move on to Loper.
He wanted to stay in Shelbyville, where his family lives and the opportunity presented itself.
“I was extremely happy with where I was as assistant principal,” he said. “Obviously, the next move would be principal. I think it came probably sooner than I thought it was going to.”
The foundation Baker built means Harpring doesn’t expect significant changes starting out. His goal is to do what’s best for the students and continue to support the teachers and families.
“Education is a tough field right now,” he said. “Being there for teachers and making sure I’m supportive of them is really a huge goal of mine but I’m kids first. I want our kids to know they can come to school and know they’re going to be safe. They’re going to have a lot of fun, but they’re also going to learn a lot and have a great attitude. Brent’s done a really nice job with that.”
Despite making a transition of his own to the high school, Baker has still been very helpful in Harpring’s move to Loper.
The two had already developed a relationship through working together and when the announcement was made last month, Baker reached out to Harpring. He encouraged the new Loper principal to come visit the school as much as possible to meet the students and faculty, many of whom he already knew from his wife’s time teaching kindergarten.
“He’s been very helpful,” he said. “I know as the school year goes on, if I’m in a pinch and need some advice, he’s just a phone call away.”
Harpring’s desire to switch into the administrative side of education started when he taught at Hendricks.
In Harpring’s second year at the school, former principal Pat Lumbley asked him to become a lead teacher in the building. He really enjoyed those additional responsibilities, and Lumbley suggested he look into becoming an administrator.
When he started teaching, he thought he would always stay in the classroom. Lumbley’s suggestion opened his eyes to the possibilities.
“I thought I could impact a lot more people as an administrator, a lot more kids, a lot more teachers,” he said.
“I just want to be supportive of those teachers.”
Having worked with Harper at Hendricks when she was the assistant principal, Harpring is looking forward to starting his new role at Loper. He said he was “honored and humbled” that the administration believed he was capable of doing the job.
“It’s an opportunity that, I want to stay in Shelbyville,” he said. “It’s where my family lives. It’s one of those things where everything fell in line.”