ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION: Deena Schafer reads her resignation letter to the Canaan Community Academy board at a special meeting on Wednesday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION: Deena Schafer reads her resignation letter to the Canaan Community Academy board at a special meeting on Wednesday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Deena Schafer, the driving force behind founding the Canaan Community Academy, will resign this summer as the school's chief academic officer.

Schafer announced her decision during a special CCA board meeting Wednesday night.

Schafer taught at Madison Consolidated Schools for more than 30 years before becoming the head administrator at Canaan Community Academy. The school is chartered by Ball State University and had its inaugural year in 2012.

CCA Board of Directors President Barry Smith said Schafer has been the "motor and engine" of the school for the past two years and during the development phase.

"It was your drive and determination that earned the school a charter in the first place," he said. "They are huge shoes to fill."

Schafer read from a statement and discussed some of the challenges and rewards of her position. As chief academic officer, Schafer oversees data recording, grant writing, school curriculum, teachers and a host of other responsibilities.

"While I've been overjoyed and blessed to have played a part in the founding and development of an outstanding school, the demands of the CAO position have been overwhelming," she said. "It has taken its toll on my family, my physical and emotional health and my well-being."

The K-6 school has had an eventful two years. It increased in enrollment from its first to second year, received an A rating from the Indiana Department of Education this year and has received about $1.5 million in grants.

The Canaan school building has always been part of Schafer's life. Her grandmother served as the principal and her mother was a teacher. Now, she and her husband, Norbert, have two grandchildren attending Canaan Community Academy.

Schafer was a teacher at Canaan Elementary School before it was closed by the Madison Consolidated School Board in 2010. She retired from Madison schools in 2012 after Canaan Community Academy began.

"I'm very happy and proud that I've got to experience seeing an empty and abandon building transfer into a place where students grow and learn every day," Schafer said.

No departure date has been set, but Schafer said she will help with the transition first by creating a spreadsheet of duties that must be complete before next school year.

She also hopes to use her experience in creating a more sustainable infrastructure for the school and its future chief academic officer, she said.

"I hope to remain involved in the forward progress of the school, so that it will continue long after I'm gone, my ancestors did before me," she said.

The school plans to begin advertising the position soon.

Representatives from Ball State University, which sponsors the Canaan charter, were at the school Thursday to discuss the changes with board members.

This is the second administrative change for CCA. Last year, the school's founding chief operating officer resigned, and that position was filled by Tara Hayes.