News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 14, 2013

Student eyes high-profile role for future in education

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Glenda Ritz and Brittany Vancil share a bond.

Both have been elected state superintendent of public instruction — Ritz, by Indiana voters last November, and Vancil during Hoosier Girls’ State over the summer.

On Friday, Vancil had an opportunity to meet and listen to Ritz, someone she greatly admires. “She’s my idol,” said Vancil, a Terre Haute South Vigo High School senior.

During Friday’s Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Dan Tanoos, Vigo schools superintendent, introduced them as “the two best state school superintendents we’ve had in over eight years.”

In real life, Vancil aspires to follow in Ritz’s footsteps and one day serve as the real state superintendent of public instruction.

Vancil has always been interested in education and wanted to be a teacher, but in recent years, the more she’s learned about the educational system, “I thought about how things need to be improved.”

She’s become interested in politics as well, “and I want to be able to make a difference,” she said during an interview at South High School.

Her goals have been fueled by a few opportunities this past year. Last winter, she was chosen to attend Richard Lugar’s Symposium for Young Leaders by her school. This past spring, she was chosen as Terre Haute South’s representative to Hoosier Girls’ State, where she campaigned for, and won, the state superintendent post.

During Ritz’s talk at the Chamber breakfast, Ritz invited Vancil to shadow her sometime.

At South, Vancil is senior class vice president, captain of the dance team and captain of the Spell Bowl team.

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