Teresa Eineman doesn’t see herself as a hard-nosed business professional but rather a dedicated and passionate educator. A recurring statement from Eineman since she began her duties in Crown Point in April 2006 is that she intended to develop a plan to take the school corporation from good to great, and she’s remained steadfast along that path.
For many years, Eineman says people have compared Crown Point to local school districts but she said it was necessary to widen that lens and compare Crown Point to students across the nation.
“Our students come to school above average,” she says. “We needed to change the benchmark. We needed new comparable schools. We looked at school corporations with similar socioeconomic levels, performance and populations across the state.”
In addition to comparing Crown Point schools to Valparaiso, Munster, Lake Central and Duneland, Eineman has added school systems like Brownsburg, Carmel, Noblesville and Hamilton Southeastern to the mix. “We developed an action plan. We’re seeing our very best achievement scores. It’s coming one score at a time.”
Overall, the school corporation’s ISTEP-Plus percentage in English/language arts was 84.3 percent for all students, compared with 72.4 percent statewide in the 2008-09 school year. In math, Crown Point scored 86.3 percent, 11.3 percent higher than the state for the same period. The 2009 graduation rate was 89.8 percent. The district broke all records for Four Star schools this year, Eineman says. Eight out of 10 schools qualified for the Four Star designation.
Eineman is particularly proud of the three Crown Point students who qualified for the geography bee, including Cvete Karamascoski of Taft Middle School; Kyle Kirk of St. Mary Catholic School in Crown Point and her own daughter Abigail Eineman, a Wheeler Middle School seventh-grader. Abigail finished in the top 10 for the state. Taft Middle School was one of three Indiana schools designated “a school to watch” by the Indiana Middle Level Education Association.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce named Crown Point High School a “Best Buy” school based on the achievement level of students for the lowest amount of tax dollars. Eineman says all of these things mean that more children are learning.
“We’re showing results at all levels,” she says. “Some school corporations are known by one school but we have 10 great schools.”
Eineman says it was her love of children and family, and her respect and deep admiration for teachers at an early age that led her into the field of education. “I aspired to be like the teachers who inspired me,” she says. “When I had a work experience at 16 years old at a now-closed state hospital and worked with young people who had a disability, I knew then what I wanted to do with my life.”
Growing up in New Castle, Indiana, Eineman says she had a rough childhood filled with physical and mental abuse. She says her mother left her and her three siblings with their abusive and alcoholic father who had just been released from the Michigan City State Penitentiary. The oldest at age 6, Eineman assumed the responsibilities of a mother, including cooking and cleaning, before the siblings were split up among other family members.
Eineman, who lived with her father until she was 17, strived to prove him wrong because she said he always told her she would never amount to anything. She said it was her teachers, whom she considers angels, who made a difference at each critical developmental stage in her life. She named her first-grade teacher Mrs. Brown and says her fifth-grade teacher Mr. Vaughn was the first positive male role model in her life.
While in high school, Eineman worked 40 hours per week at a grocery store and as a carhop to pay her living expenses and provide for her siblings. Eineman earned her degrees through Ball State University, and climbed the ladder first as teacher, then principal, then superintendent.
“I fell in love with Crown Point,” she says. “My family fell in love with it as we walked around the square and saw mothers pushing their baby carriages and others playing with their children. I knew we had found something special here.”
She says her husband, who is retired, assumes the primary role with Abigail’s school. He volunteers and participates on the PTA, while she remains behind the scenes. Eineman said church is also a part of her life and the family has become members of Bethel Church in Crown Point.
Eineman’s two older sons, Christopher and Jeremy, also live in Indiana, and she became a grandmother six months ago with the birth of granddaughter McKenzie. When asked what she does for fun, it took a few minutes for Eineman to think about it.
Every now and then, she said she likes to go to the movies but she and her husband have different tastes. “I like a happy ending,” she says with an uncharacteristic grin.