INDY NEWS

National News 

MUST READS

Survey: Today’s teaching force is less experienced, more open to change
By Jackie Mader
Hechinger Report, October 23, 2012

Teacher-Leader Corps Helps Turn Around Schools
By Stephen Sawchuck
Education Week, April 20, 2011

New Teachers are the New Majority 
By Celine Coggins & Heather Peske
Education Week, January 19, 2011

Lesson Plan in Boston Schools: Don’t Go It Alone
By Mike Winerip
New York Times, August 8, 2010

 

Indianapolis Fellows

Meet the Indianapolis Teaching Policy Fellows 2014-2015 Cohort:

Daniel Allen – Emma Donnan Middle School

“As special educator teacher, who was also a student with special needs, I truly understand my student's frustrations and want to make sure they know that anyone can overcome any challenge if they put their mind to it.”


Daniel Allen teaches self-contained ELA classes at Emma Donnan Middle School in Indianapolis, where he has a special focus on the Common Core standards and has implemented a reading-centered curriculum into his resource periods. He coaches girls and boys middle school basketball; his girls’ team went undefeated in 2013. Daniel’s passion for helping students with special needs came from his teachers, who helped him overcome his own learning disability. He started his teaching career at Indiana Math and Science Academy – West, where he worked with special needs students across subjects. Daniel majored in political science and minored in psychology/philosophy at DePauw University. He earned a Masters in the Art of Teaching with a focus on special education from Marian University.

Becky Boruff –Christel House Academy-South

“I hold true that the longevity of effective teachers in a school not only benefits a teacher’s current students, but also the students and families that pass through the doors every day.”


Becky Boruff is a 6th grade teacher serving inner-city students at Christel House Academy-South in Indianapolis. Becky is passionate about transforming her students academically, socially and emotionally at her school. She is also committed to community engagement and volunteers regularly at school-sponsored community events and through home visits. Becky sponsored a chapter of Kiwanis International’s K-Kids at her school and even taught weekly Zumba classes. In addition to teaching 6th grade, Becky is proud to serve as an active Mentor Teacher. In this role, she conducts evaluations and coaches, and field-tests best practices to inform weekly professional development that she delivers. She completed her pre-service teaching on an army post in Baumholder, Germany and graduated from Ball State University with a BA in Elementary Education. She is currently working toward her MAT in Biological Sciences with a focus on inquiry education through the Global Field Program at Miami University, Ohio.

Sue Brennan –Emmerich Manual High School

“I believe that educators must work together in order to create rigorous, forward-thinking assessments – and the standards to support them – so that our students meet their college and career goals.”


Sue Brennan is an English teacher at Emmerich Manual High School in Indianapolis. She currently serves as the English instructor for the school’s Cambridge program, as well as teaches AP Literature and English 111, a dual-credit course taught in conjunction with Ivy Tech Community College. She began her career through Indianapolis Teaching Fellows as a humanities instructor at The Excel Center, and went on to teach English at Monument Lighthouse Charter School. Passionate about college and career readiness, Sue strives to prepare her students for academic challenges beyond high school through rigorous and engaging English instruction. She holds a BA in English and Women’s Studies from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, a PhD in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University, and an MAT from Marian University.

Dane Butts –Warren Central High School, Warren Township Schools

“School districts need more flexibility in deciding how resources are allocated and decisions made to best meet the needs of their high-need students, including low-income and English learners.”


Dane Butts is a high school EL teacher at Warren Central High School on the east side of Indianapolis. In this role, Dane is responsible for creating curriculum, organizing testing accommodations, monitoring student progress, collaborating with general education teachers, providing professional development, and communicating with the parents of a growing population of English learners. In addition to teaching English as a New Language, Dane serves as the EL team leader, mentor teacher, and assistant boys’ soccer coach. He has collaborated with a district team to bring sheltered instruction for English learners to Warren Township. Before moving to Indianapolis to join Indianapolis Teaching Fellows, Dane taught English at a bilingual immersion school in Madrid, Spain. Dane graduated from Indiana University with a BA in Spanish and a BA in Political Science. He holds an MS in International Commerce and Policy from Valparaiso University and an MA in Teaching from Marian University.

Nikki Corn –Chapelwood Elementary Wayne Township Schools

“I believe a classroom should be full of teachers, learners, leaders, followers, seekers, finders, and questioners; and all traits should be in all people.”


Nikki Corn is a 2nd grade teacher at Chapelwood Elementary School in Wayne Township. She is passionate about all children achieving success and working up to their maximum potential. Nikki has taught general education for nine years and has implemented and presented programs on collaborative learning structures and real world learning. She is currently on the Wayne Township Leadership Academy, Language and Math Task Force, as well as part of a team that works on writing units of study and curriculum alignment for the Wayne Township Schools. She has been a mentor teacher for three years and now co-leads the new teacher cadre for the school. Nikki holds a BA in Elementary Education and an MA in Language Acquisition from (INPUI).

Erin Currie –Ben Davis High School, Wayne Township Schools

“I believe that effective, dynamic teachers must feel valued and be given opportunities to grow professionally while remaining in the classroom in order to continue their invaluable work with students.”


Erin Currie is a geometry teacher and course group leader and in her fourth year of teaching at Ben Davis High School. Erin has been recognized with Ben Davis’ Seniors Choice Award three years in a row for her contributions to seniors’ education. She also started the “Caps and Gowns for BD Graduates” fund to aid students who struggle to pay for graduation attire. Erin strives to make every student feel capable of success by providing differentiated and tiered instruction in the classroom. As part of her mission to keep effective educators thriving in the classroom, she also mentors new teachers at Ben Davis. Erin graduated from Ball State University with a BS in Mathematics Education.

Chelsea Easter –Indianapolis Lighthouse Charter School

“Culturally-responsible curricula reflect the lives and experiences of the students engaging with it, and this is the way students learn best.”


Chelsea Easter teaches 7th and 8th grade English at Indianapolis Lighthouse Charter School at the South Campus, where she also serves as the Head of the Humanities Department. Chelsea’s goal is to create an environment of high expectations for all students and teachers where people are pushed to be their best every day. She previously worked at Arlington High School, a turn-around school operated by the Tindley Schools. Because of her experience as a student in a failing school, she is committed to serving students who have traditionally been failed by the public school system. She has served as Arlington’s Teacher of the Year for the 2013-14 school year, and has published a monograph on using African American vernacular in the classroom a part of the National Association of African American Studies. Chelsea holds a BA in English from Adrian College, an MA in African American literature from Loyola University of Chicago, and a Master’s in Teaching from Marian University. She is currently completing the Urban Principal Program at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis.

Robbie Foote –Ben Davis University High School, Wayne Township Schools

“I believe the retention of talented teachers can be bolstered greatly through formal mentorship and focused efforts towards boosting teacher autonomy.”


Robbie Foote is a biology teacher and technology specialist at Ben Davis University High School (BDU). In addition to teaching, Robbie coaches fellow teachers on maximizing the impact of technology in the classroom as well as oversees technology-driven, in-building professional development. Robbie also facilitates an after-school basketball program as well as an Eco Club with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Robbie received a student-nominated “Seniors’ Choice Award” after each of his first two years of teaching. His position at BDU fulfills his lifelong belief in the efficacy of public schools and his passion to work with kids in a significant and rewarding capacity. Robbie earned a BA in Spanish and BS in Biology from Butler University, and an MA in Secondary Education from University of Indianapolis through the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship.

Carlota Holder –Warren Township Schools

“All students deserve an equal opportunity for the best education regardless of their cultural or linguistic backgrounds.”


Carlota Holder is an English language teacher at Creston Middle School and Creston Intermediate Academy in Warren Township. Carlota’s goal is to ensure that equity in education is met for students who speak other languages. She is a SIOP trainer,, charged with training secondary teachers in her district on new protocols for English Language Learners. She’s also won a collaborative grant with content area teachers to help support the implementation of STEM for grades 5 and 6. Carlota has taken advantage of the district’s Race to the Top grant by collaborating with colleagues to create extended day programs. She graduated from Ball State University with a BA in Liberal Arts and Spanish and received her teaching certificate in elementary-middle school education from Marian University.

Rebecca Johnson –Ralph Waldo Emerson School 58, Indianapolis Public Schools

Rebecca Johnson is a literacy coach at Ralph Waldo Emerson School 58 in Indianapolis Public Schools. In this role, Rebecca learns and collaborates with others honing reading instruction through the disaggregation of data, the use of best practices, and differentiation through small group work with the end goal to best meet the needs of the students in grades 3-6. Rebecca is a board member at the Lillian Davis Foundation, serving students on the west side of Indianapolis with educational opportunities. She previously taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade in various Indianapolis Public School elementary schools, where she established an after-school math club and worked as a math tutor for several years. Rebecca holds a BA in Elementary Education from Anderson University, an MA in Literature and Literacy for K-6 from Kaplan University, and an Administrative Certificate from IUPUI.

Monique Keck –Cold Springs School, Indianapolis Public Schools

“Professional support and fair compensation policies should be afforded to new teachers in order to promote a thriving profession, which ultimately benefits the students in our care.”


Monique Keck teaches kindergarten at Cold Spring School, an environmental education magnet school in Indianapolis Public Schools. Monique previously taught 1st grade and English as a Second Language at the school. She has had the opportunity to work in diverse roles including at a dual immersion school and in several states including Colorado and Montana. Monique joined the teaching profession because she believes that quality instruction should be available to all children. She graduated summa cum laude from Colorado Mesa University with a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish.

Jacob Kettlewell –Avondale Meadows Academy

“Don’t be loyal to the tools, be loyal to the outcomes.”


Jacob Kettlewell is a 4th grade instructional coach at Avondale Meadows Academy in Indianapolis. In this role he coaches, mentors and co-teaches with the 4th grade teachers at his school. Jacob began his teaching career through the Boston Teacher Residency and has since worked as a team leader at Challenge Foundation Academy and was a founding 3rd grade teacher at Cornerstone Preparatory School in Memphis. Last year, 100% of Jacob’s 4th grade students passed the Reading and Math ISTEP+ assessment. Jacob graduated from Grove City College with a BA in Psychology and from UMass- Boston with a MA in Elementary Education.

Megan G. Kuehl – KIPP Indy College Prep


Megan G. Kuehl is a 5th grade math teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep in Indianapolis, where she also coaches the middle school girls’ volleyball team. Prior to joining the KIPP, Megan was both a 6th grade teacher and a founding 2nd grade teacher at Tindley Accelerated Schools where she earned the distinction of 2013-14 Teacher of the Year. Megan pursued a career in teaching after several years in the field of school and hospital social work in Chicago, where she was exposed to the substantial inequalities of the education system. She utilizes her training as a social worker to assist students in further developing their social-emotional skills while enhancing their academic abilities. Megan earned a BA in Sociology from Wheaton College, an MSW from The University of Chicago, and an MAT from Marian University.

Madeline Mason – Harshman Magnet Middle School, Indianapolis Public Schools

“We are doing a disservice to students in the U.S. by continuing to cut world language, health education, and arts programs. While STEM courses are definitely crucial in modern curriculum in order to prepare students for the 21st century world, we must not lose out on opportunities to cultivate well-roundedness, global awareness, and cultural appreciation within our students."


Madeline Mason is a 4th year Spanish teacher at Harshman Magnet Middle School in Indianapolis. She came into teaching via Teach for America, and became a teacher in order to share her passion for language and culture with others, and particularly with students in a high-needs district. Over the past four years, Madeline has worked to develop a culturally responsive and inclusive Spanish immersion curriculum for three different levels of learners. She was named Harshman’s Teacher of the Year and selected as a part of the IPS Teacher of the Year top 10 Honor Group for the 2013-14 school year. In April 2014, Madeline was selected as the recipient of the Teach for America Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award. She serves on the Alumni Board for Teach for America Indianapolis in addition to coaching cheerleading and volleyball at her school. Madeline holds a BA in Spanish and International Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an MA in Teaching from Marian University.

Julie L Metcalf –Indianapolis Public Schools

“I believe that 'best practices' in education means doing what is best for each and every student and going beyond the latest buzzwords to provide what it takes for all students to achieve above and beyond their individual challenges.”


Julie L Metcalf is an English language teacher in Indiana's largest urban school district, Indianapolis Public Schools. Julie has served on various collaborative problem-solving and goal-setting teams, instructional leadership teams, and a school culture team. She is a member of a departmental compliance team and the team of district English Language teachers which focuses on staff training and implementation around the newly-adopted Indiana English language standards and assessment. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Julie serves as an ambassador for the school during arrival and dismissal times, and in the hallways between classes. Julie has taught students in grades K - 6, and holds a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) which she earned in Bangkok, Thailand via Cambridge University. She graduated from IUPUI with a BS in Elementary Education.

Jessica Monk –Paramount School of Excellence

“Students can be either empowered or destroyed by testing data. The results depend less on the score and more on what we teach them to do with their current realities.”


Jessica Monk teaches 4th grade at Paramount School of Excellence, where she also serves as the 4th grade team lead and high ability coordinator. Prior to joining the team at Paramount, Jessica was director of instruction at Gary Lighthouse Charter School in Gary, Indiana. While at Lighthouse, she had the distinction of having the highest reading and math NWEA growth in the network for the 2006-07 school year. In addition to educating, Jessica has two years of experience recruiting top teachers to serve in high-need areas. She is dedicated to ensuring student success in high-need urban areas, as well as mentoring fellow teachers to become effective and passionate urban educators. She has a BA in Elementary Education from Purdue University and a Literacy Coach Certification from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock.

Eve Montgomery –Indianapolis Public Schools

“Teachers are uniquely positioned to serve students in some of the most meaningful moments of life, and I believe that they deserve infrastructures and compensation that fully support those efforts.”


Eve Montgomery is a high school science teacher at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, teaching a variety of subjects including chemistry, environmental science, zoology, biology, and AP biology. Eve became a teacher when she realized that teaching allowed her to merge her interest in science with her desire to contribute to her community. While working for the New Tech magnet program on campus, she has helped develop a mentoring program that pairs junior and senior students with local businesspeople. Eve is deeply committed to improving urban education through thoughtful and intentional collaboration. She graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) with a BA in Biology, and holds an MA in Teaching from Marian University.

Andrew Pillow –KIPP Indianapolis

"We need to offer better support to teachers so they can better support students. And we need to acknowledge that teaching in certain areas requires extra training and support."


Andrew Pillow teaches 5th grade social studies at KIPP Indianapolis College Prep. Andrew is in his 4th year at KIPP where he participates in the Teacher Leader Program with National KIPP. He is the 5th grade team leader and coaches both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. He holds a BA in Political Science and Journalism, and an MA in Arts and Teaching from Marian University.

Edward Rangel –Key Learning Community, Indianapolis Public Schools

“Teachers work tirelessly for change. It is time our American society started thinking as such.”


Edward Rangel is a 5th grade teacher at Key Learning Community in IPS. He was most recently nominated for Teacher of the Year at Key Learning Community and was a semi-finalist for Teacher of the Year in IPS. Edward is an alum of Teach For America’s 2012 Indianapolis Corps and has spent two summers at the New York City Institute managing and developing teachers from Rhode Island, Seattle, New York, and Connecticut. He hopes to elevate the teaching profession to one that is competitive and sustainable in order to create more lifelong teachers deeply committed to achieving educational equity. Edward graduated from the University of Redlands in Southern California with a BM in Clarinet Performance and from Marian University with an MA in Teaching.

Elizabeth Retana – Carpe Diem – Meridian Campus

“I believe that all students have the ability to learn, no matter their socio-economic status or cognitive ability. It is our responsibility as educators to ensure that our students are met at their instructional levels and provided with support that leads them to success.”


Elizabeth Retana is an instructional leader at Carpe Diem Meridian, located in downtown Indianapolis. Elizabeth develops curriculum and facilitates English and Language Arts workshops for 6th through 12th grade students. She has created a reading intervention program to provide intensive support to struggling readers and serves as faculty advisor for Carpe Diem’s student government, literary magazine, and dance marathon. She previously taught Title 1 Reading at the Indianapolis Public Schools, where she was named her school’s Teacher of the Year. Prior to that, Elizabeth spent two years teaching humanities to elementary students in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth began volunteering with students through the American Legion Auxiliary’s Hoosier Girls State program and was a Teach for America corps member after college. She graduated from Indiana University with a BS in Kinesiology and from Marian University with a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Sabrina Roberts –Paramount School of Excellence

“I would like to see all schools train, support, and retain quality educators through teacher-led professional development and leadership opportunities.”


Sabrina Roberts teaches middle school math at Paramount School of Excellence. She is most proud of the growth her middle school students achieved during the 2013-14 school year: the ISTEP pass percentages for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in math were, respectively, 100%, 93.5%, and 88.2%. She previously taught high school math for at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School. Sabrina’s ultimate goal is to advocate for students in a broader context through policymaking. She has a BA from the University of Michigan in Applied Statistics and Political Science, and an MA in Teaching from Marian University.

Nicole Russell –Avondale Meadows Academy

“Great schools are built by great leaders, who create and retain strong teachers and produce well-educated, well-rounded scholars.”


Nicole Russell is a 4th grade general elementary teacher at Avondale Meadows Academy (AMA) in Indianapolis, where she is also the Math Pentathlon program director for grades 1-5. During her first year at AMA, Nicole created the Super Star Scholar Ball to celebrate the students who maintained exemplary grades and exhibited leadership behavior throughout the year. Nicole previously taught 3rd and 5th grade at Andrew J Brown Academy in Indianapolis. Nicole graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a BS in Elementary Education.

Brittany Scherer –KIPP Indy College Prep Middle School

“I believe that the only way that truly every student in this nation will have access to a high-quality education is for highly-effective teachers to be encouraged and committed to remain in the classroom.”


Brittany Scherer is an 8th grade social studies teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep Middle School where she is also the Social Studies Department Chair for grades 5-8. Brittany previously taught at Arlington High School during the first two years of the school’s turnaround effort. There, she taught 8th grade reading and literature, served as 8th grade team leader, and was voted Tindley Accelerated School’s Teacher of the Month in December 2013. Brittany’s ultimate goal as a teacher is to cultivate her students into inquisitive, engaged, and empathetic citizens. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in History and Political Science and earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from Marian University.

Melissa Scherle –Washington Irving Elementary School-IPS #14, Indianapolis Public Schools

“Teaching shortages will remain until the fundamental problem of teacher retention is addressed.”


Melissa Scherle is a 2nd grade teacher at Washington Irving Elementary School where she is a T3 (Turnaround Teacher Teams) Team Leader. In this role, Melissa collaborates with teachers to develop curriculum, instruction and assessments, and to analyze data. Melissa is in her eleventh year of teaching and was previously a special education teacher in Indianapolis and a diagnostician for the Exceptional Children’s Co-op in Jasper, Indiana. She was named Teacher of the Year at Washington Irving in 2012 as well as a Top Ten teacher in IPS that same year. Outside of the classroom, Melissa is proud to serve on The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Education Council and volunteer with Back on My Feet Indianapolis. She graduated from Indiana University with a BS in Elementary and Special Education.

Ronak Shah –Tindley Preparatory Academy

“If we treat the classroom as if it is an island, separate from our students’ communities and the challenges they face, we risk stranding ourselves our students at the limits of our own capacities. Rather, we should see our classroom as embedded within those communities -- their supports, their assets, and their wisdom.”


Ronak Shah is a 7th grade life science teacher at Tindley Preparatory Academy, an all-boys middle school in northeast Indianapolis. This is his third year teaching at the school, where he also serves as science content lead. Ronak was Teacher of the Year at Tindley for the 2013-14 school year. He is passionate about working with young people, especially adolescents, in order to prepare them for a life where they are empowered to choose among many possible paths. In the science classroom, this means preparing his students to use scientific inquiry to solve problems in their neighborhoods and communities, and to obtain the requisite knowledge and understanding to have their pick among universities and careers. Ronak graduated from Indiana University a BS in Cognitive Science and holds an MA in Teaching from Marian University.

Courtney Singleton –Arlington Woods Elementary, Indianapolis Public Schools

“I believe students need familiar faces to impact a positive learning environment and achieve at high levels.”


Courtney Singleton is a 4th grade teacher at Arlington Woods Elementary School in the Indianapolis Public School. At the school, Courtney collaborates with peers to enhance student learning and has developed and implemented several teacher-made assessments including vocabulary and comprehension tests. She previously taught special education at the school and has been presented with the Arlington Achiever award two years in a row. Courtney graduated from Ball State University with a BA in Elementary/Special Education.

Sadie Stevens –Greenbriar Elementary, Washington Township Schools

"I believe that teacher retention in schools is a key factor to building a strong school community and a positive environment for children to learn."


Sadie Stevens is a kindergarten teacher at Greenbriar Elementary, an International Baccalaureate school in Washington Township. At Greenbriar, Sadie collaborates with her colleagues to ensure lesson plans meet the needs of all learners in her classroom. She serves on the Positive Behavior Support Committee, coaches Running Club, and leads professional development for responsive classroom practices. Sadie graduated from Purdue University with a BA in Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement.

Dave Wheeler –North Central High School


Dave Wheeler teaches AP and College Preparatory US History at North Central High School in Indianapolis Public Schools[AG1] Washington Township Schools. As a leader of his professional learning community, Dave provides insight and direction on how to make United States history curriculum connect with students. He was named 2013-14 Teacher of the Year for the state of Indiana because of his work with the National History Day, a program that allows his students to actively engage with history. Dave previously taught at Christel House Academy and Fall Creek Academy in Indianapolis, where he was recognized as the district’s 2011 Teacher of the Year. Dave was a member of the inaugural Normandy Scholars program, which included fifteen student/teacher teams that traveled to France. He graduated from DePauw University with a BA in Communications.