Sheila Dollaske is a career educator who brings years of hands-on experiences in urban school settings in Chicago and Indianapolis to her work as a new Innovation Schools Fellow.
Her proposed school is a neighborhood middle school that will serve as the hub of the community. In collaboration with community leaders and families, Sheila envisions a school that provides an excellent education for middle school scholars, while working strategically with families to ensure their long-term aspirations are met.
An integral component of the school is a satellite Excel Center, in partnership with Goodwill Education Initiatives, which will offer classes to older, under-credited adults who wish to earn their high school diploma and, in some cases, earn undergraduate course credit. Through this partnership, the Excel Center would offer adult classes so that the school is an educational resource for the entire neighborhood.
Sheila comes to the fellowship after three years of service as principal of the Key Learning Community in the Indianapolis Public Schools. She was charged with transforming a struggling school with 450+ students and 50+ staff members and raised the school’s academic performance by two letter grades in just three years.
Before returning to Indianapolis to lead the Key School, Sheila was a teacher and administrator in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system as a member of the Teach For America (TFA) corps. She spent several years at Farragut Career Academy as a science teacher, while also leading other innovative school efforts. She was a program director of One Goal, which identifies and trains teachers to lead underperforming students in struggling high schools to enroll in and graduate from college.
She also was the “small learning community” lead, where she presided over 335 freshman students and 26 teachers to ensure a vast majority of students were on track to graduate. She also helped analyze academic achievement data and provided next steps for school leadership based on current practices and trends.
Sheila later served as an instructional support leader for CPS, where she coached and developed principals and instructional leadership team members in 26 high schools.
Sheila has been active in several efforts to improve public education. She was a member of the Indiana Department of Education’s A-F Committee, where she helped draft the state’s new A-F accountability system in response to legislative changes. She also has served as a board member for College Mentors for Kids.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Butler University, a master’s degree in teaching from National Louis University and a master’s degree in education from Columbia University in New York as part of TFA’s Indianapolis Principal Fellowship. She is also an internship coach for Columbia’s Summer Principals Academy.