Fall Creek Intermediate Principal Randy Schoeff Retires, Reflects On 44-Year Career In Education

Photographer: Ron Wise

Randy Schoeff can still vividly recall back to the mid-1980s when Fishers was a small town of about 2,000 residents. After all, he was one of the devoted local citizens working as an educator throughout the ensuing decades to help foster the city’s steady growth.

“People ask why I never moved from Fishers back when it was such a small place, but with having been able to watch it grow and being part of opening new schools here, I can’t imagine being any place else,” says the 66-year-old Schoeff, who recently retired after 21 years as principal of Fall Creek Intermediate School.

A lifelong Hoosier born in Huntington who graduated from Pendleton Heights High School, Schoeff knew early on that education would likely be his career focus and even prognosticated his future status as a principal at the elementary school level during his high school years. He credits his father, Pendleton’s former varsity basketball coach, as an inspiration for his career convictions at such a young age.

“I knew going into high school that it would be fun to be a teacher,” he recalls. “Even in high school I thought it would be neat to be an elementary principal some day. I picked my college, Indiana State, because of their school of education.”

After a stint teaching and coaching junior high basketball, track and cross country in Edinburgh for four years, Schoeff moved to North Manchester where he taught sixth grade and eventually obtained his principal license. Then it was off to Hagerstown to serve as an assistant principal, after which he took on his first principal position at Fishers Elementary from 1984 through 1993.   

“It was pretty smooth going from a teacher to being a principal,” he says. “Knowing that being a principal was what I wanted to do, I would always pay attention to what our principal was doing when I was a teacher and think about what I would do differently or the same. So I was confident by the time I moved to Fishers.”

Such confidence would come in handy in the ensuing years as Schoeff went on to serve as principal for not one, but two brand new schools, the first of which was Hamilton Southeastern Junior High School in 1993.

“During my five years at Hamilton Southeastern, I saw the town grow so much and so fast, and the junior high was getting more and more kids in as Fishers grew,” Schoeff says. “Then we built Fall Creek Intermediate School in 1998, and I’ve been there for 21 years.”

Always a devoted sports fan, Schoeff also championed the Fishers boys and girls youth intramural basketball league.

“Fishers was a football community when I moved here, and I wanted to help make basketball relevant here,” Schoeff says. “It was just seven teams in the mid-80s and we added dozens of teams each year. We were in gyms every weekend, recruiting referees and making sure the kids could play.”

When considering his decades of leadership, Schoeff is most proud of being part of Fishers’ growth in reputation for quality education since becoming a principal in the 1980s.

“I’m really proud that we made the intermediate school concept work through the years,” he says. “At the time it was because of growth, and we kept it elementary-focused to provide a unique experience for 10, 11 and 12-year-old kids that they wouldn’t get in a K-through-6th building necessarily. The district has stayed with that philosophy, and it’s been nice to be a part of that.”

Kim Day, who served as Fall Creek Intermediate assistant principal for the past six years and who will take over as principal in the fall, feels it was Schoeff’s strong focus on relationships that allowed Fall Creek to succeed under his leadership. 

“I think he always felt that good learning comes from good relationships, and he always wanted to keep students, parents, teachers and administrators looped in as much as possible,” Day says.

As he transitions into retirement, Schoeff looks forward to spending more time with his family including seven grandkids, who range from five to 17 years old.

“They’re all involved in football, baseball, basketball and track, and I look forward to enjoying more of that and traveling some,” he says. “The kids at school have kept me young through my years, and I’ll miss that but I feel like my grandkids keep me young too. I think I’ll get a Facebook page now and keep track of some of my staff, students and families.”