April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Board chooses Mayer as new Hauser principal

By HSJ Online [email protected]

J.P. Mayer will be the next Hauser Junior-Senior High School principal.

Mayer was chosen last week by the Flat Rock-Hawcreek school board to replace Shawn Price, who is being promoted to district superintendent this summer. Mayer has been with the school for a year as a dean of students.

Mayer attended Southwest Texas State, now known as Texas State, with a degree in German and in broadcasting and earned a master's degree in instructional technology from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. He worked at schools in Texas and for a year at Arsenal Tech in Indianapolis before his mother-in-law tipped him off to an open position at Hauser.

Originally, he applied here as a German teacher. But when school officials recognized his administrative experience, they suggested he consider applying for his current position.

"I feel like I have found my educational home here," Mayer said. "This is such a family atmosphere. I have not been to another school like it. I have been in education 21 years and I feel supported, I feel the friendship and everyone is just working together for a common goal. It is just a phenomenal atmosphere."

He foresees declining enrollment as one of the biggest challenges he will face as Hauser's principal. He said a committee has been formed to work on the issue and some ideas are already percolating.

"I think if people just knew about the atmosphere we have here - the love and acceptance you feel here -- if people just came and experienced that, they would be sold on Hope," Mayer said. "I think you have almost a private school education in a public school setting. To paraphrase an '80s TV show, 'Sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name?' That is it, here."

Superintendent Kathy Griffey said that Mayer has made a good impression in his short time at Hauser, impressing the staff and parents.

School board President Steven Wilson said he is sorry to see Mayer leave as dean of students, but happy to see him take over as principal.

"He has done an excellent job as dean, but we also expect him to do an excellent job as principal, as well," Wilson said.

Board member Andy Hunnicutt served on the selection committee in the second round of interviews after the initial field of applicants were reduced to four finalists.

"The committee was a unanimous choice for J.P.," Hunnicutt said. "So, when I sat in on the second round of interviews, my job was very easy. I asked a few questions and was very impressed."

Mayer's parents Ruth and Gary Mayer surprised him by attending at last week's school board meeting, where the board chose him for the principal job.

Mayer met his wife, Tessa, while he was teaching in Texas. She teaches special education at Columbus North High School. They have two children, Jackson and Ruth Ann.

His mother-in-law, Ruth Musillami, is a teacher at Columbus North and Columbus East high schools.[[In-content Ad]]