The History of West Noble School Corporation
The West Noble School Corporation was formed in 1961 by incorporating the Wawaka, Perry, Cromwell, Ligonier, Kimmell and Washington Center Schools into one central location. Included within the geographical boundaries of the school corporation are the Noble County towns of Ligonier, Cromwell, Wawaka and Kimmell, as well as the townships of Elkhart, Perry, Sparta and Washington. Covering an approximate total of 132 square miles, the community is mainly composed of industrial and agricultural business.
When the Corporation formed, many students began the process of attending schools outside of their particular town or township. Sparta and Washington township students in grades K-3 began attending Kimmell School. For a few short years, kindergarteners attended class in the Cromwell Fire Department building. Later, a portable school building was erected behind the Cromwell School for kindergarten students to attend. This building was used for kindergarten until 1983 when the elementary schools were consolidated. The fourth graders from Sparta and Washington townships attended Cromwell School. The fifth and sixth graders attended Washington Center School.
Ligonier K-6 students attended Ligonier School; Perry township K-6 students attended Perry School; and North Elkhart School housed Elkhart Township students in grades K-6.
All four townships sent students in grades 7 and 8 to Cromwell School, all ninth graders to Wawaka School and all tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders to Ligonier School.
The late 60s found deteriorating conditions of some buildings, continued growth of population in the city of Ligonier and updated educational requirements. The need for a new school was imminent. After much discussion, a decision was made to build a new high school two miles south of Ligonier, and in 1971, West Noble High School was completed. West Noble High School held its first commencement in May of 1971 (although that class of seniors attended the Ligonier High School). The first class attending West Noble High School was the 1972 class, though students graduating from Ligonier High School in 1969 and 1970 are also considered West Noble graduates.
With West Noble High School now in place, three schools (Kimmell, Washington Center and North Elkhart) would be closed. Sparta and Washington township students in grades K-6 would now attend Cromwell Elementary School; Ligonier K-6 students would attend Ligonier Elementary School; Perry Township students K-6 would attend Perry Elementary and Elkhart Township K-6 students would now attend Wawaka Elementary School. Students in the seventh and eighth grades from all four townships would attend Ligonier School, now called West Noble Junior High and ninth through twelfth grade students would attend West Noble High School.
In 1972, consultants made a recommendation that the West Noble Junior High School, which was attached to Ligonier Elementary, be eliminated from further educational use as soon as it was possible to accommodate the students elsewhere. Consultants recommended the building be retired from educational use, razed and removed from the site. Although the exterior of the building appeared impressive, the interior was such as to create highly undesirable educational and safety situations.
With the recommendations from 1972, a plan of action was put into place. A new middle school would be built on the same campus as West Noble High School. This new school would house students in grades 6, 7 and 8. After the Junior High portion of the old school was demolished, a new wing was added to Ligonier Elementary to accommodate elementary students that were attending classes in the Junior High section of the old building. The new West Noble Middle School was completed and ready for occupancy the fall of 1976.
When the 1980s arrived, three of the four remaining elementary buildings were deteriorating. After much discussion it was decided to renovate Ligonier Elementary and build one new elementary on the West Noble Campus. This new building would house students in grades K-5 from Elkhart, Perry, Sparta and Washington Townships. Students from Ligonier would attend Ligonier Elementary. West Noble Elementary was completed and occupied in 1983.
Cromwell Elementary was sold to the town of Cromwell. The cafeteria/multi-purpose room, along with the gym was kept intact while the oldest portion was demolished. The Cromwell Community Center is still in use today.
Wawaka Elementary was razed and became a park.
Perry Elementary School was purchased by a local church and is still in use today.
The early 90s saw an influx of families to the area. An increase in students warranted an addition to the middle school. This addition enabled the moving of all fifth grade students in the corporation to the middle school. West Noble Middle School would now house students in grades 5-8. Ligonier Elementary and West Noble Elementary would accommodate grades K-4.
With the additional arrival of the Hispanic population in the late 90s and the expansion of full-day kindergarten classes in the early 2000s, the need for more space become apparent. With the support of the community, the high school, middle school and West Noble Elementary saw major additions completed in 2008.
During the 2009-10 school year, a difficult decision was made to realign the two elementary schools. Many months of planning brought the announcement that the 2011-12 school year would start with Ligonier Elementary – newly renamed as West Noble Primary School – housing students in grades K-1 and West Noble Elementary would serve as the new home for all students in grades 2-4.
West Noble School Corporation has had only five superintendents in its history. Keith Carper served as the first superintendent from 1961-1964. The second was Glen Longenbaugh, who served from 1964-1980. Bruce Hippensteel served as the third superintendent from 1980-2004. Twenty-four years as a superintendent is an extremely long time, as most educators who achieve such a level do so later in their careers. Mr. Hippensteel became superintendent at a young age and quickly established himself as a very capable manager. Dave Speakman served from 2004-2009. Prior to becoming superintendent, Mr. Speakman served as the assistant superintendent at West Noble, under the tutelage of Mr. Hippensteel, for 18 years. West Noble’s present superintendent, Dr. Dennis VanDuyne, has served in this capacity since 2009. Dr. VanDuyne served as assistant superintendent under Dave Speakman from 2006-2009.
West Noble High School, West Noble Middle School and West Noble Elementary School are located on approximately 130 acres, two miles south of Ligonier on U. S. 33, at the State Road 5 junction. West Noble Primary (formerly Ligonier Elementary School) is located in Ligonier at 500 West Union Street.
The total student enrollment is approximately 2,503 for all grades Kindergarten through grade 12. West Noble Primary, formerly Ligonier Elementary, houses students in grade K-1. West Noble Elementary houses students in grades 2-4. West Noble Middle School includes grades 5 through 8, with West Noble High School including grades 9-12.
The West Noble School Corporation has a comprehensive curriculum offering at all grade levels, including programs for the gifted and talented, for those needing special services in special education, English as a new language (ENL) and vocational programs at the high school level. West Noble also offers a varied and balanced extra-curricular and co-curricular program for students.
The Central Administrative offices for the West Noble School Corporation are located at the south end of the West Noble High School facility, just off of Charger Avenue. The Central Administrative office hours are 7:30 am - 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.
Superintendent: Dr. Dennis VanDuyne
2014 School Board Members:
- Jeana Lemon - President
- Todd Moore - Vice President
- Mary Wysong- Secretary
- Travis Stohlman - Member
- David Peterson - Member
- Jim Hosford – Member
- Christine Mershman - Member
- Ligonier, Indiana – Memories of the First 150 Years 1835 – 1985, Ligonier Sesquicentennial Book Commission
- A Consultant Study of the West Noble School Corporation, Ball State University 1972
- A Cooperative Study of School District Reorganization and School Building Needs, Studies in Education No. 2, 1957
5094 N US 33
Ligonier, IN 46767
Principal: Greg Baker
Assistant Principal: Amanda Nine
Assistant Principal: Mike Burke
Guidance Counselor: Traci Werling
Guidance Counselor: Gretchen Martin
Media Specialist: Linda McAdams
Athletic Director: Tom Schemerhorn
Colors: Red, white, and blue
Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
State, Board of Education in Indiana (First Class Commission)
West Noble High School believes that its purpose is to provide all students with the skills which will enable the students to grow intellectually, socially, morally, physically, and emotionally; to think rationally; to realize their responsibilities in a democratic society; and to develop their fullest potentials. We pledge to provide such programs and experiences to accomplish this end.
5194 N US 33
Ligonier, IN 46767
Colors: Red, white, and blue
The mission of West Noble Middle School is to provide a positive educational environment so that students will have the opportunity to realize their full potential. The faculty, staff, and community will help students develop the unique emotional, physical, social, and intellectual skills needed to become responsible citizens and prepared for the challenges of the future.
Principal: Melanie Tijerina
Assistant Principal: Wade Jagger
Assistant Principalr: Gene Teel
Guidance Counselor: John Franklin
Guidance Counselor/Social Worker: Janet Hutsell
Media Specialist: Christine DeVries
5294 N US 33
Ligonier, IN 46767
Principal: Mark Yoder
Assistant Principal:Jennifer Duncan
The mission of West Noble Elementary School is to create an environment in which children will develop a lifelong love of learning. We will facilitate development of the appropriate language arts skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) for students to become successful and confident in sharing our oral and written language in a meaningful way. We will also promote the personal responsibility and social skills needed for students to be successful in future educational endeavors.
500 W Union Street
Ligonier, IN 46767
Principal: Brian Shepherd
The mission of the West Noble Primary School is to provide a positive learning atmosphere for all students. The staff instructs and encourages each child to mature and develop in the intellectual, social, physical, and emotional areas of his/her life.
West Noble Primary is located in the center of our historic Jewish Community. The school campus includes a spacious play area with basketball courts and playground equipment suitable for various age groups. Our school has the advantage of being close to many walking sites such as a radio station, fast food restaurants which offer tours, the library, post office, fire and police stations, a museum, and historical homes.
Our campus is in close proximity to several areas for field trips such as a popcorn plant, apple orchards, and Merry Lea Environmental Center. We are also within an hour’s drive of Fort Wayne and South Bend which supplements our local educational field trip opportunities.
The West Noble Primary campus provides a positive educational environment.
Ligonier is a unique community set in the farmland of northeastern Indiana. Ligonier has a rich Jewish background. At one time there were many wealthy Jews living here. They held jobs as bankers, merchants, and often had businesses in Chicago. The once beautiful mansions along Main Street reflect by-gone days where Jews lived with maids, butlers, and chauffeurs. Many of the houses have smaller homes built in back for the households help. This street is built wider than any other street in town.
The street in town that has our business district is called Cavin Street, named after the founder of Ligonier, Isaac Cavin. It houses several very unique businesses along with many hispanic stores.
We have a mini-mall area complete with a grocery store, discount department store, bank, a fast food restaurant, optometrists, along with a dental clinic.
We have an excellent industry based town. Our industrial park is quite complete with a variety of jobs in about 20 different factories.
We have a variety of restaurants, ranging from Mexican, Chinese, and fast food. There are also several family type restaurants.
Our park system is excellent, complete with a Recreational Center and two very well kept parks with lots of activities available for all ages.
Ligonier is known for its Marshmallow Festival held every Labor Day. It is a three day festival complete with parade, games for the kids, and the largest marshmallow. This festival features our Kidd’s Marshmallow Factory which produces a great deal of the marshmallows for the nation.
In the past 12-14 years we have had an influx of Mexican American families to our community. They are proud of their own churches, businesses, and stores that occupy downtown Ligonier. The 2013-14 school year found our student population to be 49% hispanic.
Our farming community has many Amish families who send their children to Ligonier to school. The Amish provide a German and religious background quite different from the other families in our school.
Ligonier, Indiana – Memories of the First 150 Years 1835 – 1985, Ligonier Sesquicentennial Book Commission
A Consultant Study of the West Noble School Corporation, Ball State University 1972
A Cooperative Study of School District Reorganization and School Building Needs, Studies in Education No. 2, 1957