LCIS names Headmaster and Principal


FAYETTEVILLE – The Lawrence County Independent Schools named Austin Malone as headmaster and Joanne Symcox as principal during their board meeting Thursday night.

Austin Malone named Headmaster Lawrence County Independent Schools Thursday

The hiring process started in February 2021. Five candidates were interviewed by the Lawrence County Independent Schools board. Their selection was narrowed down to two candidates.

Malone has more than 15 years of education and administration experience. In 2017 Malone was named principal of the Shoals Middle School.

“What impressed us the most was Malone’s passion,” said Trisha Turner chairman of LCIS.

In a statement to WBIW News:

“My heart has been invested in the people of Lawrence County since I moved here in 1986. There are no adequate words to fully express my excitement, gratitude, and sheer joy at this opportunity to come home and wear my heart on my sleeve for the kids of Lawrence County.

I am fully aware of the political entanglements this new venture has caused in our community. Anything that challenges or disturbs the norm can be frightening. To those tangible webs of uncertainty, I say that just like a traditional public school, LCIS accepts all children regardless of status, ability, creed, or orientation. We will love your children regardless of their color, religion, background, assumed abilities or inabilities, socioeconomic status, athletic abilities, last name, or comfort level. Our staff is made of licensed Indiana teachers, our Chromebooks will all function with expected precision, our field trips will combine learning and fun, our calendar will include time off for families, our goals will prepare our kids for the future, and our parents will know their kids are not only being challenged academically each day but loved and empowered proactively.

In my 16 years as an educator, I have builit a reputation of kindness, intergrity, and student-centered leadership that I can’t wait to share with Lawrence County. Aside from the indescribable excitement of having the chance to create a new educational opprotunity, LCIS is making it possible for me to be closer to my own children, Elle and Finn and as any parents knows that means everything.”

His contract will begin on June 1, 2021, and continue until May 31, 2024, his salary will be $75,000, including medical, vision, and dental insurance. Other benefits will include a cell phone allowance, and personal leave time.

“I am scared to death, but in a good way,” telling those in attendance Thursday night.

Joanne Symcox will be principal at of LCIS.

Joanne Symcox was approved to be -Principal LCIS

Symcox has taught both 8th and 6th-grade science and 6th-grade social studies at Mitchell Junior High School.

She has taught biology and ICP for 9th and science for 10th graders at Purdue Polytechnic High School North.

She has also taught at Duval Charter School of Arlington in Jacksonville, Florida. Where she taught 7th and 8th-grade reading and was an English/ Language Arts teacher.

After graduation Symcox attended Broward College in Coconut Creek, Florida where she received her Associate of Arts degree in psychology.

Thirteen years later, she went back to college and acquired her Bachelors of Science in elementary education in 2009 and her Masters of Science in special education in 2013 both from Indiana University in Bloomington.

She acquired her Building Level Administrator license from Oakland City University in 2017 and is currently working toward her Doctorate of Education in curriculum and instruction.

Symcox holds a student-centered-whole child approach to teaching and learning. She is non-negotiables about what being an educator means and should look like.

1. Educators should love working with children…this seems obvious but when they don’t, students know and it affects student learning. 

2. Building positive caring relationships is important to students’ well-being and ability to master content….you can not teach students that you can not make positive connections with. 

3. It is just as important to teach children how to interact and navigate the world as it is to teach them reading, writing, and math. 

4. Be a lifelong learner and the best expert of your content, teach your students to love it even if they’re not the greatest at it. 

5. Be passionate about what you do and your students will be passionate about doing what is asked of them. 

Outside of Her Profession:

Symcox grew up in Florida. She has lived in Melbourne, Australia, and Caverhall, England before relocating back to the US and moving to Southern Indiana. She has made Indiana her home and has resided here for 17 years. Symcox has raised 4 young men and is proud of all their accomplishments and the adults they have become. She loves spending time with her family, walking her dog, Eli, and is excited to soon be a grandmother. She loves reading crime novels when she gets the time, and her favorite vacation spot is a beach anywhere.

At Her Core:

Symcox believes that it is the caring relationships we make that are our legacy and what people will remember about us. She is passionate about the way people treat each other. Joanne believes that we are all connected and that we are at our best and beautiful when we foster those connections and find the things that unite us. She knows that it is through what we all bring to the table that makes our world great, everyone has a voice and we all are to be heard. 

“There is a better way, instead of complaining, I was going to change the way our children are being educated and advocate for our children,” said Symcox.

Her contract was approved at a salary of $70,000 and starts on July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2023. Her contract includes medical, vision, dental insurance, a cell phone allowance, and personal leave time.