News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

May 14, 2014

Vigo Schools chief to get Indiana honor

TERRE HAUTE — Vigo County School Corp. Superintendent Danny Tanoos will receive a Sagamore of the Wabash honor during Monday’s School Board meeting.

State Sen. Tim Skinner and State Rep. Clyde Kersey of Terre Haute will present the Sagamore, which is among the highest honors awarded in Indiana and granted only by the governor.

Members of the Indiana House and Senate are permitted by Gov. Mike Pence to nominate two individuals each year for a Sagamore.

As a state senator, Skinner said he’s learned a lot about school districts throughout Indiana. A retired VCSC teacher, Skinner said he knew Vigo County had a good school system, but with his statewide duties, he now has a basis for comparison.

The more he’s learned, the more Skinner said he realized Vigo County “probably does have one of the best, if not the best, school corporation in the state.” He attributes that to the strong leadership of the Vigo County School Corp. and to Indiana State University’s Bayh College of Education, which prepares future teachers and administrators.

Presenting Tanoos with the Sagamore of the Wabash “was an opportunity to recognize Danny and the school district for doing something really, really good … and to say something positive is happening in education in Indiana,” Skinner said. “We really need some good feelings coming back to education.”

Skinner credits “a lot of great teachers in Vigo County that have helped make our school corporation great.”

The award also acknowledges Tanoos’ support of public education.

For several years, public education has been under attack in Indiana, yet from the beginning, Tanoos has been an ardent and vocal defender of public schools, Skinner said.

“He is one of the few people who from the very beginning [of the education reform movement in Indiana] has said, ‘Hang on. What you are saying is not exactly true. You are not considering different aspects of the education process,’” Skinner said.

Tanoos “called Tony Bennett out on more than one occasion,” Skinner said. Bennett, a former Republican state superintendent of public schools, was defeated in 2012 by Democrat Glenda Ritz.

Through the Sagamore of the Wabash, legislators have an opportunity to honor two people per year in their districts who are making an outstanding contribution to the community and also to the state, Skinner said.

Tanoos said it’s “a tremendous honor to receive the award.” It’s also an award to all those who have enabled him to do what he does — it’s a tribute to his family, his colleagues and his mentors, he said.

He thanked Skinner and Kersey for their efforts to honor him with the Sagamore and their support of public education.

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

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