Hamilton Heights School Corporation Board of School Trustees
The Hamilton Heights School Board is made up of 5 members, 2 each from White River Township and Jackson Township as well as one at-large representative. The members are elected to staggered 4 year terms. The Board generally meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month.
L-R: Gretchen Pennington, Julie Davis, Arnet Cooper, Ben Lehman, Kevin Cavanaugh, Superintendant Dr. Arrowood
Arnett Cooper, President
Arnett (Arnie) Cooper has served as a Hamilton Heights School Board member representing White River and Jackson Townships since July 2010. He is the longest-serving member of the current Board. Arnett, a 1963 graduate of Jackson Central High School, is a lifelong resident of the Hamilton Heights district.
He is a United States Air Force veteran and retired toolmaker after working for Chrysler Corporation in Kokomo, Indiana for more than 40 years. In addition to his toolmaker apprenticeship, Arnett holds an associate degree from Highland Park Community College in Industrial Technology.
He is among the members of the Indiana State Board Association’s (ISBA) Exemplary Honor Roll earning the Level 4 Exemplary distinction by accumulating at least 225 points in the ISBA’s Governance Awards (EGA’s) program.
Arnett, who has served in a number of leadership roles during his tenure, is an ardent supporter of Heights and passionate about public education. His dedication and contributions continue to bring great benefit to Heights through his involvement in the boardroom as well as in the classroom as a Teach One to Lead One (T1L1) mentor or in the stands supporting students every chance he gets.
Arnett, a Butler Bulldogs basketball fan, is married to Vicki Scherer, his high school sweetheart. They have two daughters (Tina and Kira), both Hamilton Heights graduates, and two grandchildren.
Gretchen Pennington, Vice-President
Gretchen Pennington has served as a Hamilton Heights School Board member representing White River Township since January 2021. She believes there is no greater way to give back to the community than to serve as a member of the Hamilton Heights School Board. She continues to work hard to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students, educators and the entire district.
Gretchen has lived and worked in Hamilton County for more than two decades. She is a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Hamilton County. She is a graduate of Franklin College and earned her law degree at Indiana University, Bloomington. She has also earned a reputation for being thorough, professional, open-minded, and respectful of different perspectives and opinions.
Gretchen was raised on a working row-crop and livestock farm in southern Indiana. It was here that she learned the value of hard work and the immense blessings and responsibilities of farming. It was precisely these lessons that would be the foundation of her career in public service. A strong advocate for public education, Gretchen has dedicated her entire professional career to public service and her family.
Gretchen is married to Ed Pennington, a 1990 graduate of Hamilton Heights. They have three children, Brooke (Class of 2018), Brent (Class of 2020), and Drew (Class of 2021), who are graduates of Hamilton Heights.
Dr. Kevin Cavanaugh, Secretary
Dr. Kevin Cavanaugh has been serving as a Board Member representing Jackson Township since January 2017. He has had an exacting focus to ensure every deliberation, decision and action during his tenure reflects the best interests of every student at Heights.
Kevin, who grew up in a rural community in NW Ohio, has always had a passion for learning. He received a B.S. in Agronomy at Iowa State University. He then attended Purdue University and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. focusing on plant breeding and genetics.
Kevin joined Beck’s Hybrids in 1993 and served as the company’s Director of Research for 27 years. In 2020, he co-founded and is part owner and President of Peterson Corn Genetics, licensing corn genetics to independent seed companies throughout the United States and Canada.
In 2012, Kevin was recognized with Purdue’s Distinguished Alumni Award. He is also involved in many state and national seed organizations such as past president of the Indiana Crop Improvement Association, past president of the Indiana Seed Trade Association, past president of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders, and numerous committees of the American Seed Trade Association.
Kevin, who served as School Board President in 2021, has been active and involved with school activities including coaching numerous youth sports teams and serving on many Heights-affiliated committees and organizations like the Hamilton Heights Education Foundation (HHEF).
Kevin and his wife, Carey have two sons and Hamilton Heights graduates, Jack (Class of 2017) and Grant (Class of 2022).
Julie Davis, Member
Julie Davis has served as a Hamilton Heights School Board member representing Jackson Township since January 2019 and is the first educator to serve on the board. She served as School Board President in 2022.
Julie, a retired English Teacher and Department Chair, spent most of her career in education as an English teacher at Heights, working with students of all levels of ability, interests, and learning styles. Julie holds a B.A. from Indiana University, a M.A. from Ball State University, IU English Adjunct Faculty Certification from IU Bloomington, and completed an AP Acceleration Program from Earlham College.
She was active and engaged in many extracurricular activities during her 45-year tenure as an award-winning educator and continues to be active and accessible in the classroom and community. Her depth of hands-on and engaged classroom experience provides a unique perspective and has been an asset to the board in decisions that impact the school community.
Julie is a life-long resident of Northern Hamilton County and resident of Arcadia. She is a proud member of the Hamilton Heights School Corporation Class of 1967 and Emanuel Lutheran Church in Tipton. She has two children (Sean and Cheryl), both graduates of Hamilton Heights, and four grandchildren.
Ben Lehman, Member
Ben Lehman is the newest member to the Hamilton Heights School Board representing White River Township beginning in January 2023. He is the first Heights graduate of this century to be elected to the school board.
Lehman is a 2003 graduate of Hamilton Heights and a lifelong resident of Hamilton County. He works as a CPA and is part owner of Lehman and Company in Noblesville. With a servant heart for serving, his family, his church, his community, and his clients. He is the treasurer for Victory Chapel Community Church and the 50 Club of Hamilton County and is a board member of Hamilton County Extension Board as well as the co-commissioner for the Hamilton Heights Youth Football League. Ben has served as a 4-H volunteer for 17 years, while serving as Swine Barn superintendent for eight years giving back after his 10-year 4-H career. He has been a baseball, basketball, soccer, and football coach for his children’s teams.
Ben is deeply invested in the community and wants to use his energy, experience, and time to make a meaningful difference at Hamilton Heights in this role during his tenure. He plans to serve as a strong liaison between the students, parents, teachers, staff, and stakeholders in the community.
He married his high school sweetheart Audrey Fisher (Class of 2005), and they have two children, Faith (Hamilton Heights Class of 2030) and Caleb (Hamilton Heights Class of 2033).