The journey from young teacher to Superintendent of South Montgomery Schools started in the year 2000 for Dr. Shawn Greiner. That’s when he departed Maplewood Elementary School in Connersville and took on his first administrative role as Principal at C R Richardson Elementary School in Richmond.
The time at Maplewood was a critical part of Greiner’s life. That’s where he met a student-teacher from Japan named Wakako. An administrator at the school set the two up on a date and after just one date, Greiner went to seek advice from the one person who showed him what he wanted in marriage and what true love looked like – his father.
“I’m in love and I’m going to marry this girl,” a younger Greiner told his father at that time.
His father gave him the best advice he knew and the secret to how he won over his mother, Mary. The elder Greiner told his son that he never let a date end without making plans for the next date.
“This way she doesn’t have time to date anyone else,” Dr. Greiner laughed. His father’s advice worked just as planned and it was only a few years later that Greiner and Wakako were married.
“She’s my best friend – truly – my soulmate,” he said. The couple had their first child in 2001 and from there built their amazing family of three boys and one girl.
His career started in 1990 as an aspiring teacher at Maplewood Elementary, under the tutelage of Principal Anne Rose. She helped shape him into the educator that would end up at South Montgomery today.
“There are two reason you go into administration. First, you think you can do better or second, you had such a great experience you would like to continue on the work of those before. My reason was the latter,” Greiner said. “Principal Rose was a great mentor for me, I saw all of the wonderful things she had done for the school, I wanted to make that kind of a difference and have that kind of an impact as an educator.”
That sets the scene for Greiner’s move to administrator in Richmond. He spent just two years at C R Richardson before heading back to Maplewood as Principal. Greiner’s next move was critical, as he would go to Fishers to be part of the opening of the brand new Harrison Parkway Elementary School.
Greiner said it was exciting to be part of the opening of the school and that it was in interview for the position that a “seed was planted in him,” to possibly become a superintendent one day.
A successful opening of Harrison Parkway led Greiner to yet another school, Thorp Creek Elementary School. While there he decided to obtain his Ph.D. in Leadership Education in order to become a superintendent. With four children at home, he and Wakako had to work very hard. She would often take on the duties of the children and their extracurricular activities while Greiner worked hard hitting the books.
“My kids still remember the pile of stuff at the corner of the table,” Greiner said. “We worked really hard to manage and I got my Ph.D. fairly quickly. When you have the support of your family . . . you can do anything.”
With his Ph.D. in hand, Greiner applied to the open superintendent position at South Montgomery Schools. The couple researched the area diligently and after much thought, decided that it would be a wonderful place to call home. The Greiner’s pride themselves on being a positive force in the educational system.
Wakako is involved in schooling as well, teaching Japanese at Southmont.
“Southmont is a hidden gem. I am very proud to be a part of the school and the community,” Greiner said. “The staff, parents, teacher and the three local superintendents work very closely together on everything.
Greiner was born 1967, one of three kids to Mary Howard, a beautician, and James Greiner, a farmer, of Connersville.
The Greiners were known as the “fairy Tale” marriage to those who knew them well.
“They were deeply in love with each other, we knew that our parents had high values, believed in their marriage and the commitment they had made to one another,” Greiner said. “My parents made me who I am. There was no safer place than home.”
Greiner says he was a nice, strong, average student in school. He enjoyed show choir, playing piano, guitar and singing. Greiner tributes his love of music to his grandma Howard.
As a child, every Saturday Greiner would go with his mother to visit his grandma. Grandma Howard had a piano and Greiner says he would just sit for hours, plucking on keys and playing around on it.
A very proud Grandma Howard, bought a piano for Greiner so he could spend more time learning to play at home. Greiner says this truly sparked his interest, and lead to him learning the guitar as well. Greiner had an aunt who was an English teacher who was also a big influence on him. She helped to encourage and nurture his desire for working in the educational field.
After graduation from Connersville High School in 1985, Greiner headed to Ball State University to earn his bachelor’s in education. He followed up with his master’s in education and another in leadership and supervision before earning the aforementioned doctorate.