School Board approves new athletic director hire, celebrates Art Hecht Award winner at Wednesday meeting

Julie Reichle

The new athletic director for Piedmont High School with his family sitting behind him.

The Board of Education approved the hiring of a new director of athletics and honored Art Hecht Award winner Dr. Sarah Pearson at its May 8 meeting.

Tyler Small will replace Bradley Smet, who announced his resignation earlier this spring. Small and his wife Jessie have four children who currently attend Piedmont Middle School and Beach Elementary School.

Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hawn introduced Small on Wednesday night and shared his bio:

Originally from Central Indiana, Tyler Small has been in education for 16 years with over ten years of leadership experience. Earning a bachelor of science in physical education and health from Indiana University, he started his career as a high school teacher and coach. He coached high school football, wrestling, golf, and was the assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Tyler has always had a passion for children with special needs and attained his master of arts in special education from Ball State University and a post master’s certification in educational leadership. He has spent the last ten years of his career in educational leadership roles including assistant principal, high school principal, and his most recent role as regional vice president of Spectrum Schools and Programs. He has a proven track record of developing high performing teams leading to academic and athletic excellence for the students and teachers he’s served.

Hawn said the district conducted a rigorous hiring process that included three interviews and a background check. The interview panel consisted of teachers, coaches, board members, community members, parents, and students. Trustee Cory Smegal said the panel was particularly impressed by Small’s vision for what athletics can do for students, how it can bring a community together, and teach important life lessons.

“I’m super excited to be joining PUSD,” said Small. “I see the opportunity to build on success and continue to grow the programs… and am looking forward to meeting the community.”

Board honors Art Hecht Award winner Dr. Sarah Pearson

City Hall chambers was full Wednesday night, with many of the assembled there to celebrate former school board member and community volunteer Dr. Sarah Pearson. In addition to her years of work on behalf of the school community (see article below), supporters and board members spoke of Pearson’s optimistic spirit, dedication, and kindness as hallmarks of her character.

“Sarah sees the inherent good in people. She looks on the bright side and does not get bogged down in negativity,” said Trustee Cory Smegal. “Sarah works incredibly hard. She says ‘yes’ more than she says ‘no’. If she is in a position to help, she will.”

“A friend is someone who shows up. Sarah, you are a true friend of everyone in this community,” said Drama teacher Kim Taylor. “Thank you for showing up.”

Former board member Megan Pillsbury also lauded Pearson’s commitment to student mental health and Vice Mayor Betsy Andersen said Pearson was the reason she decided to run for public office.

The Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to individuals who have volunteered their efforts over a period of time and made a difference because of their involvement and commitment to Piedmont’s youth.

Lindsay Thomasson, Hilary Cooper, Ruchi Medekhar, Cory Smegal, Dr. Sarah Pearson, Veronica Anderson Thigpen, Dr. Jennifer Hawn, Elena Stevens, and Shakila Zuberi.

Leave a Reply

The Exedra comments section is an essential part of the site. The goal of our comments policy is to help ensure it is a vibrant yet civil space. To participate, we ask that Exedra commenters please provide a first and last name. Please note that comments expressing congratulations or condolences may be published without full names. (View our full Comments Policy.)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *