STM to welcome new superintendent


Photo submitted by Bret Heller

MAN FOR THE JOB Starting his new position as superintendent July 1, Mr. Bret Heller looks forward to forming bonds with community members.

Atarah Israel, editor in chief

Traveling roughly 1,500 miles to take on the job of superintendent, Mr. Bret Heller will officially start his new position at School Town of Munster July 1. Although the current deputy superintendent of West Ada School District in Meridian, Idaho, does not take on his new role until the summer, groundwork is already being laid for his transition to STM, which includes making two week-long visits to Munster in March and May. 

“Everything starts with relationships,” Mr. Heller said. “I want to listen. I want to learn. I don’t want to fix things that are not broken. But I do want to spend time looking for where the opportunities are to make our system even better. To me that all starts with building trust and getting to know people.” 

Coming from an over 20 year career at a district with 40,000 students and 57 schools, Mr. Heller plans to make connections with students and faculty through formal meetings and also close-knit bonds on an individual level. 

“I want to have those informal conversations in the hallway,” Mr. Heller said. “I love going to school performances whether that be the athletic teams, or whether it be a drama performance or choir performance. I’m just excited to get in, roll my sleeves up and be there every day.”

This past July, the school board cooperated with BWP & Associates, a search firm, to find a candidate eligible to replace the retiring Dr. Hendrix. After seven years of working with the school board as superintendent, Dr. Hendrix will retire this year. 

“Our district eight years ago was in financial tragedy,” Dr. Ingrid Schawrtz-Wolf, school board president, said. “And he (Mr. Hendrix) was willing to take on our school district with an immense amount of debt, low morale and angry citizens, and he saved our district. He put a lot of time and energy into getting our district back on track.”