David Spencer and Emily Pelino
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David Spencer and Emily Pelino

Innovation School Fellows: 2017

Innovation School Fellows David Spencer and Emily Pelino will deepen the impact of KIPP Indy Public Schools in the Indianapolis community by partnering with IPS to open KIPP’s first local high school, enabling the network to educate its students from kindergarten to the time they matriculate to college.

Emily Pelino, executive director of KIPP Indy, will lead the development of the new high school, and David Spencer will serve as founding school leader.  The new high school would open in Fall 2018.

KIPP is a non-profit network of college-preparatory, public charter schools with a 20-year track record of preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life.  All schools, including KIPP Indy, are locally operated and managed in their own communities.

KIPP Indy believes that all students, regardless of their zip codes or demographics, can learn and achieve at the highest level.  Its goal is to help students build the skills needed to graduate from college and lead choice-filled lives.  To achieve this, KIPP Indy provides every student with a well-rounded education that includes rigorous academics, character development and extra-curricular opportunities.  KIPP Indy strives to support students and alumni to and through college, and it believes an aligned K-12 network will best serve students on their path through college and beyond.

KIPP Indy was founded in 2004 with one class of fifth graders and has grown to educate more than 600 students across two schools, KIPP Indy College Prep Middle School and KIPP Indy Unite Elementary School.

As executive director of KIPP Indy, Emily is responsible for supporting the performance and development of its current schools and leading the region’s growth to a K-12 network.  Emily joined KIPP Indy in 2009 as the assistant school leader, and later school leader, of its middle school.  She began her career in eastern North Carolina where she taught middle school math though Teach For America (TFA).  Emily earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and master’s degrees in social work and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Before joining the Innovation School Fellows, David was assistant principal at Moving Everest Charter School in Chicago.  David began his career teaching in the Houston Public Schools through TFA and later worked for YES Prep Public Schools. While working on TFA’s staff, he served as a corps member advisor, curriculum specialist and school director. After moving to Chicago, he worked as senior director of learning for By The Hand Club For Kids.

David earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and holds master’s degrees in youth and young adult ministry from Andrews University in Michigan and educational leadership from Columbia University.