• Jay Payne

    Jay Payne


    (812) 376-4287


    Meet Mr. Payne:

    I love being the principal of Central Middle School! The 2022-2023 school year will be my fifth year back at Central after spending four years as the principal of L Frances Smith Elementary here in Columbus. Prior to going to Smith, I was the assistant principal for five years here at CMS.   That is when I fell in love with working with middle school students and being a Charger!

    Central is an amazing school and I want to work with everyone to make it be the best it can be. It is my goal to build strong relationships with all the Central students, staff, and families over the next year. So feel free to use my email ( or phone (812-376-4287) if you have any questions. 

    I just completed my 32nd year in education and my 22nd with BCSC.  My wife Michelle and I moved our three sons to Columbus because we love the town and schools.   All three of my sons attended Central Middle School and had great experiences.   Our twin sons are graduates of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Wabash College. Our youngest is a student at Hanover. We love football (all three played for Columbus North) and traveling!

    I look forward to working with all of you!


  • Blake Manuel

    Assistant Principal

    (812) 376-4283

    Meet Mr. Manuel:
    Hello! My name is Blake Manuel and I am the Assistant Principal at Central Middle School. The 2022-2023 school year will be my 10th year at Central and my 6th year as Assistant Principal.

    I am extremely excited about working with the students and families of CMS in this position and you should always feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. You can reach me via email at or by phone at (812) 376-4283 and I will do my best to get in touch as quickly as I can.

    In case you were curious, here is some more info about me!

    My wife Bailey and I have lived in Columbus for the past 9 years and we absolutely love it! We enjoy eating ice cream at Zaharakos or riding our bikes down the People’s Trail. We also love to travel and have campfires with our friends! Our 3 sons are 5, 3, and 1! We are having a blast watching them grow up and try out new things!