News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 24, 2013

Mardis to be new principal at Wilson

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Susan Mardis will be the new principal at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, effective Aug. 5.

Mardis has been principal at Deming Elementary for “eight wonderful years,” she said, and she previously served as the Woodrow Wilson dean 10 years ago.

“I will always be a Deming Star and now I am a Warrior. Going to battle for kids,” she wrote on a social media site.

She replaces longtime principal Sharon Pitts, who has retired.

The School Board approved Mardis as principal Monday as part of the personnel report. It also approved Sarah Gore as the new Woodrow Wilson assistant principal. Gore had been a language arts teacher at Otter Creek Middle School last year.

“I’m excited to be back at Woodrow Wilson. I was there two years as dean,” Mardis said Tuesday. She also did a principal internship at Chauncey Rose Middle School several years ago and coached girls basketball and tennis there.

She’s worked for the Vigo County School Corp. for 39 years and spent many of them as an elementary teacher at Terre Town, Deming, Crawford for 15 years and Ouabache for four years.

She’s also been an elementary writing teacher.

Mardis said it’s difficult to leave Deming, but she’s excited about the move to Wilson. The administration and School Board “have been very supportive of me. I always want to be supportive of their decisions,” she said.

She was in her office at Wilson on Tuesday preparing for her first official day as principal Aug. 5.

Gore has taught at the middle school level. “I think we are a very good fit to each other,” Mardis said.

She’s met with Deming staff “and they understand. They will go on just fine. Deming will continue to be a top-notch school,” she said.

Mardis said she’s ready for the new challenge. She noted she turned 50 while a dean at Woodrow Wilson, and she’ll turn 60 next month as the school’s new principal.

Her priorities will be “discipline, fine instruction and parent involvement,” the things required of any good school, she said.

Superintendent Dan Tanoos said Mardis “will be a very strong leader at Wilson.” He pointed to her accomplishments  at Deming, including improved ISTEP scores.

When he’s visited Deming, “I see a lot of structure and good discipline, as well as teachers and staff working hard to meet the needs of students,” he said.

Sharon Pitts built a strong foundation at Wilson, he said, “and now Susan can build on the legacy of the school.”

In other personnel changes, the board approved:

  • Jeanne Conley as an assistant principal at Terre Haute North Vigo High School; she has been a dean at North.

  • Shane Abrell as the new North Vigo athletic director; he had been a physical education teacher at Terre Haute South Vigo High School.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or