FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- Northwest Allen County Schools saw a change of leadership at the beginning of the school year welcoming Superintendent Wayne Barker to lead the district. Barker says he is feeling confident after his first school year as superintendent.

“I’m feeling good,” said Barker. “It’s been a great school year, I feel obviously much more comfortable than I did.”

In August of 2022, WANE 15 sat down with Barker to talk about the school year ahead. One topic of discussion was the goals for the school year. Barker mentioned enrollment continuing to grow.

“We found out in late October, and a demographic study that was provided by Dr. Mckibben that we were going to continue to have increased enrollment and since that time on every school board agenda that we’ve had, we’ve talked about that,” Barker said. “I think as a result of that, we’re now at a place where we’ve had preliminary determination or project hearings for three different construction projects, to build a new middle school to add on and renovate the Carroll High School campus and then to also build a new central office.” “I think our community has been extremely supportive of that,” said Barker.

There were also bumps in the road throughout the school year. Toward the end of the school years, NACS experienced controversy surrounding a canceled school play. Barker says he stands by the decisions made by the district.

“That was an unfortunate situation that we found ourselves in,” Barker said. “I support the decisions that were made, we canceled the play due to the disruptions that are happening with students and I would do it again.”

“I regret the incident and the situation,” Barker continued. “But I think the correct decision was made based upon the behaviors and issues that we were starting to see happen between students.”

Regarding what’s next for the district, continuing to grow and making available space for new students is the district’s main focus.

“We’re seeing families want to live and in and go to our schools, so in trying to solve those problems, we’re able to do some positive things with this construction,” said Barker. “But without a doubt those will be two big areas for the upcoming year.”

Below are other items discussed during WANE 15’s interview: