Q&A with Dr. Spray

Perry Township’s soon-to-be superintendent meets with The Journal to be introduced to the district


Grace Elder

Future superintendent Dr. Patrick Spray talks about his plans for his future in Perry Township. Spray met with The Journal to introduce himself.

After Perry Township’s current superintendent Pat Mapes retires on June 30, Dr. Patrick Spray will step up to the plate. Coming from Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation, Spray will begin the job on July 1, but he’s already becoming acquainted with the cultures of SHS and Perry alike. The Journal interviewed Spray to introduce the new district head.

Q: Why did you decide to apply for the job at Perry Township?

A: “Perry Township has always had a great reputation for excellence in Marion County (and) central Indiana, and I’ve always kind of admired the work going on here, so when I saw the position come up I thought ‘Hey, this might be an opportunity to pursue.’ I have a really good position in Clark-Pleasant schools and built good relationships here and we’ve done great work. People say a good time to look for a job is when you’re not really looking for a job, not when you need to be looking for a job, so I think the biggest thing is just the reputation.”

Q: Are you moving here from your last district?

A: “That is a family decision we have not made yet. I have five children, I have twins that are 24 years old.. I have a 21-year-old who just started as an RN at Community South … and then I have another set of twins that are nine … We’re trying to figure out what the best move is.”

Q: What’s it like to join a new district?

A: “Getting to know a new district is very intense, just with regards to making sure that you are intentional with your time, that you make sure you try to identify and work with the leaders that are currently in the district, to identify who those key players are, both in the communities and the schools, but also making time to be sure that you’re connected to the classrooms, the students, as well.”

Dr. Patrick Spray serves students lunch at Whiteland Community High School.

Q: What are your goals as the new superintendent?

A: “I think first is to quickly get to know the community as much as possible. What are some things that we’re very proud of in Perry Township, what are some things that are staunch traditions in the school corporation and the township, and what are the priorities going forward? I’ve told much of the leadership team here already that I’ve met that I’m not coming in with a specific agenda, I’m here to support the work that’s going on and make it better … It’s making sure that … we’re constantly making adjustments so that you guys are ready for college and careers and being productive citizens.”

Q: What challenges are you expecting to face?

A: “I think it’s always a challenge when you come in someplace and you don’t know a lot of the people. I think that could also be an advantage at times because I’m truly asking questions because I don’t know the answers and I’m listening to ways that I can help support the work that takes place in schools.”

Dr. Patrick Spray reads a book to students at Clark-Pleasant Elementary School. contributed by Rick Hightower, Clark-Pleasant Schools Communications Director

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a superintendent?

A: “Some of my favorite things are interactions like this with the students and (seeing) the creativity, the knowledge, the expertise that you guys have, the interest that you guys have in learning and what you take away as strengths and weaknesses from your experience in Perry Township … and just getting to learn and know a new community that’s exciting, that’s energizing … I think right now professionally I’m ready for that next challenge and to get to know a new community of learners.”

Q: Do you have any least favorite aspects of it?

A: “You may (know about) the tornado that recently went through Johnson county. Our office sits here, the tornado was on the other side of the street, and so while that is a traumatic event, and there’s a lot of trauma that goes along with that with students and community members, it’s those things that pop up that you weren’t expecting for the day, but also sometimes those things are the things that make a big difference for your community and for those learners. When you say ‘least favorite,’ (it’s) paperwork, meetings, those kinds of things.”

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?

A: “I’m learning to play golf. I started playing golf four years ago when my nine-year-old son wanted to play golf. He was about four or five years old, he wanted to play golf, he sat down and watched Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, the entire Masters tournament when he was three or four years old, and he goes ‘I wanna play golf.’ So (I thought) ‘Alright I’ll try this.’ So I bought the cheapest set of clubs I could find at the sporting goods store, because I was like ‘I’m not sure I’m gonna like this.’ But it’s been fun.”

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: “I’m looking forward to getting to know the community and the staff at all of the buildings. I actually have a meeting with most of the principals here in about half an hour.”