Mr. Clinton Blankenbaker is proud to be a staff member at Salem Community Schools. Being fortunate enough to work with a great group of educators and staff members is a privilege that he does not take for granted.
Mr. Blankenbaker is a 2003 graduate of Salem High School and proud to call Salem my home. His wife, Mariah (Purkhiser) also graduated from Salem High School (2005) and then earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Indiana University Southeast. They have been blessed with two children. Kason was born in 2011, and Keeley, in 2013. Both of their children are current students at Bradie Shrum Elementary. They enjoy attending sporting events, kayaking, hiking, and spending time with our friends and family. They are excited to raise their children in a community that provides as many opportunities for growth as you are willing to pursue.
Mr. Blankenbaker became an Assistant Principal at Bradie Shrum Elementary in 2020-2021. He began his educator experience at East Washington Elementary, where he taught seven years all in the third grade. He made a decision to become an educator while attending Salem High School. He pursued his goals by attending Hanover College and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Indiana University Southeast. After teaching for five years, he decided to continue his own education and pursue a graduate degree in Education Administration through Ball State University. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education Administration in 2015 but decided to continue teaching in the classroom to gather more experience.
In 2017, he applied for the Assistant Principal position at Salem Middle School and was honored to accept the offer allowing him to return to his alma mater and help guide the youth in his very own community. After working three years at Salem Middle School and gaining a wealth of knowledge from our staff and students, he feels even more confident with the opportunities he has been presented. Salem Community Schools is a wonderful corporation and a place where he is thankful to have grown in and continue to raise his own children.
Mrs. Colwell grew up in Batavia, Illinois, and moved to Washington County in 1989, where she is a 1995 graduate of West Washington Jr./Sr. High School. She earned her undergraduate degree from Indiana University Southeast in elementary education and earned Masters’ degrees in both Special Education and Administration and Supervision from Ball State University.
“My Grandmother was a Speech Pathologist,” she shared, “and I would spend a great deal of time with her in her classroom.” Mrs. Colwell further shared, “she created this world of imagination around me through literature and learning, and I knew from a very early age I wanted to work in education.”
After completing her undergraduate, she worked for Hoosier Uplands as an After School Program Coordinator and later as a Family Case Manager for the Indiana Department of Child Services for 3 years. Mrs. Colwell taught special education at Salem High School for 6 years, before transitioning to Dean of Students at Bradie Shrum Elementary. “My work with the Department of Child Services provided a valuable experience and further prepared me for my career in education,” she shared. “I had the opportunity to work with children and families at some of the most difficult points in their lives, and I pull from those experiences to become a partner in education."
“I am grateful to work directly with teachers in developing curriculum and opportunities for our students,” she shared. “I still have a love for children’s literature, and my goal is to create an academic environment where imagination, creativity, and learning flourish; school should be a place children want to come to, and parents know their children are safe and loved.”
Mrs. Colwell and her husband, Eric, are residents of Salem. They have three children: Alex, Cameron, and Kelsey Davidson. All three children are graduates of Salem High School. Alex is a teacher at Bradie Shrum Elementary in the 5th grade. Cameron is completing his final year at USI in Evansville, majoring in Political Science and Spanish. Kelsey also attends USI, where she majors in Nursing.
Mrs. Colwell also serves as the Special Education Liaison for Salem Community Schools.