USC hires superintendent to replace retiring Fleming

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A new leader is coming to United South Central school district, as the school board recently hired Taylor Topinka as superintendent.

Taylor Topinka

Topinka is finishing up his fourth year in school administration. He has also taught for five years.

“Living in Fairmont and working in Granada-Huntley-East Chain, USC is a district that we rub shoulders with quite a bit and just had the opportunity to get a feel for the climate and culture and all the positive things that United South Central has going for it really as a school district and as a community,” he said. “Just as an outsider looking in on USC for the last couple years, this was a position that I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to open up.”

Email newsletter signup

His mission: be hungry, humble and present every day.

“Hungry for providing the best educational experience, hunger for seeking out what is the best and most authentic approach educationally, humble coming in realizing that it’s not all about me as a superintendent, it’s about what we can do as a district to help set our students up for success and really provide students with the best experience when they come through the school doors every day,” he said. “Present being all that I can be to help support our staff and help support our students, help support our community in our quest to provide our students the best education.”

Topinka, who said he applied for positions minimally over the last four years and was happy at Granada-Huntley-East Chain, noted USC was a positive district with positive staff and positive people. He also said he was waiting to apply to the ideal district, something he felt USC was.

He doesn’t plan to bring any major changes, at least initially, and wants to take his time to get to know the individuals and systems in place before showing how he could help and advance them.

“We’ve got so many positive things happening at the district, and my goal will really be to do what I can do to evolve as a leader to fit the needs of United South Central,” he said.

He said his best skill was communication, whether with staff, parents or communities. Topinka also wants to serve as a good advocate who can understand district needs and develop leadership skills based on those needs.

On the other hand, he admitted he still needed to learn more about the individuals “that truly make United South Central great.” He also wants to continue developing skills needed for running the day-to-day district needs.

“At Granada-Huntley-East Chain I’ve had the opportunity to work very closely with the superintendent I have now, and he’s really almost let me serve in kind of an associate superintendent capacity, not officially,” he said.

And while he admitted the bigger size at USC would be an adjustment, he was confident the transition would go smoothly.

But what he really wants faculty, students and parents to know is that he wants to be an advocate.

“A lot of times it seems like, as an administrator, you kind of get lumped into the category of ‘I’m a principal administrator, I’m a parent’s administrator, I’m a student’s administrator,’” he said. “I really think that I’m there to help support all three.”

And that’s his ultimate goal: do whatever he can to help position his students for success.

To the communities that comprise USC, he wants to develop an understanding of what’s important for the area and what they’d like to see reflected in their schools.

Topinka is currently working on his doctorate, and he enjoys spending time on the lake and golfing.

He and his wife have a young son.

“I’m excited and humbled to have this opportunity at USC and sure look forward to the 2023-24 school year,” he said.

And while a contract has been agreed upon, board members will vote at the Feb. 21 meeting to officially hire him.

Topinka, currently sixth- through 12th-grade principal at Granada-Huntley-East Chain, replaces Keith Fleming, who will retire at the end of the 2022-23 school year after serving as superintendent since 2016. Topinka will start July 1.