News Release, Michigan City Area Schools:

Michigan City Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins has announced that she will be retiring, effective August 2, 2024.

She has served as the Superintendent of Michigan City Area Schools since July 2010. Her top priorities have centered on strengthening the instructional core, expanding college and career preparation opportunities, and providing increased educational options for families and students. She led efforts to establish elementary magnet schools in the Arts (at Pine Elementary) and in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (at Lake Hills Elementary) and supported both Lake Hills and Barker Middle School in obtaining Indiana STEM certification. She has also focused on creating programs for high-ability students K-12, establishing Michigan City High School as a leader in dual credit and AP opportunities.

Dr. Eason-Watkins has collaborated with partners in higher education, business, and industry to realign programs and curricula to support students and meet workforce needs. During her tenure, she oversaw the expansion of career and technical education programming and partnerships for the 
A. K. Smith Career Center. Among the initiatives she launched for MCAS are the Early College Program, the Compressed Air Academy, the Little Wolves Early Learning Center, and a comprehensive K-12 technology program. Under her leadership, the district received several awards, including the University of Notre Dame’s Advanced Placement (AP-TIP IN) School of the Year, the Richard C. Sussman Prize for Team Innovation from the Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest, and an Indiana Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence honoring the district’s innovative solar installations.

She has received numerous awards for her continued commitment to education and was named a Gerald I. Lamkin Fellow by the Northwest Indiana Society of Innovators in 2016. She has served on the boards of directors for the Duneland Health Council, Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City, Ivy Tech Community College, Michigan City Chamber of Commerce, United Way of LaPorte County, and Unity Foundation of LaPorte County. She also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the University of Michigan’s College of Education.

Dr. Eason-Watkins’ retirement will mark the culmination of her 50-year professional career in education. Her vast experience includes teaching in Highland Park, Michigan, and serving as a nationally recognized school principal in the Chicago Woodlawn community. In 2001, she was appointed to serve as the Chief Education Officer of the Chicago Public Schools. As the lead curriculum and instruction strategist for the nation’s third-largest school district, Dr. Eason-Watkins led efforts to reform policies and institute key instructional initiatives.

“I have been deeply honored to serve as the Michigan City Area Schools Superintendent since July 2010. I have worked with so many talented, committed, and caring board members, staff, parents, community leaders, and business executives who have supported our district’s efforts.” Eason-Watkins wrote in an email to staff and families announcing her retirement. “I remain fully committed to this district and community, and my heart and spirit remain deeply rooted in the Wolves culture. My husband and I will now have the time to focus on enjoying the next phase of our lives together and finding ways to continue to positively impact the community.”

“Dr. Eason-Watkins has shown unwavering dedication to our community over the last 14 years, leading Michigan City Area Schools with integrity and professionalism,” said Marty Corley, President of the MCAS Board of Trustees. “While we will miss her, I thank her for laying a strong foundation of excellence that we will continue to build on. Her leadership has fostered a collaborative environment, making my tenure on the Board both enjoyable and rewarding.”

Over the next several weeks, the MCAS School Board will determine steps to ensure continued strong leadership for the district.