Creating Great Public Schools for Every Student

Great schools are transformative. They improve the lives of the students they serve and create new possibilities for the communities where they are located.

At The Mind Trust, we aim to provide every student in Indianapolis with access to a high-quality, world-class education. We do this by recruiting and developing talented, innovative educators, launching high-quality schools with the conditions for success and engaging neighborhoods and communities to help lead education innovation.

Our Core Values

  • Community: We value the diverse perspectives of our community and stakeholders, particularly those who share the backgrounds of our city’s students. We seek to strengthen our work by acting with empathy, learning from others, and leading through partnership.
  • Entrepreneurship: We encourage and seek innovations that challenge the status quo. We forge new paths by responding to problems with visionary solutions and pursuing implementation with courage.
  • Equity: We operate with the unwavering belief that all students and communities deserve the opportunity to thrive. Because of this, we invest in ideas and leaders to build systems that eliminate barriers, elevate opportunity, and amplify the power of communities.
  • Impact: We act boldly and persistently to create outstanding educational opportunities for all students across our city, both now and in the future. We believe that great schools not only lead students to academic success, but also transform communities and create new opportunities in the lives of their students.
  • Integrity: We act firmly in accordance with our values. We make tough decisions when necessary, follow through on our commitments, and are responsible stewards of our resources.
  • Team: We collaborate to spark innovation and develop transformative ideas. We care for our colleagues, laugh together often, and encourage excellence in one another.

Our Beliefs

  • Children – no matter their background or circumstances – can excel under the right conditions.
  • Great teachers and school leaders are the most important ingredients for student success.
  • Great schools have the autonomy to innovate and make decisions at the school and classroom levels.
  • Great schools are held accountable for achieving excellent results for their students.
  • Neighborhoods and communities must help lead educational innovation and transformation

Our Impact

Since 2006, The Mind Trust has been on a journey to transform Indianapolis’ education landscape into a place ripe with opportunities for every student. We have made tremendous progress by:

  • Recruiting some of the nation’s best talent organizations – including Teach For America and TNTP (The New Teacher Project) – to Indianapolis to build a pipeline of world-class teachers and school leaders.
  • Enticing talented innovators from Indianapolis and across the country to launch break-the-mold education ventures that address critical needs in local schools.
  • Empowering education leaders to start and expand quality public schools in Indianapolis.
  • Helping create an environment in which these schools, teachers, and nonprofits can thrive through robust efforts to engage the community and improve the public policy landscape.

This work already has impacted tens of thousands of Indianapolis students and has made Indianapolis one of the best-positioned cities in the country to achieve lasting, systemic change that creates better opportunities for all K-12 students.

Our History

In 2001, at the urging of then Mayor Bart Peterson, Indiana lawmakers enacted legislation making Indianapolis the first U.S. city where the mayor can authorize charter schools, which are public schools that are independent from school districts, allowing them more freedom to make key decisions at the school level.

Peterson selected David Harris, one of his policy advisors, to build and run the mayor’s charter school office.

Peterson and Harris worked to grow the number of high-quality charter schools in Indianapolis as a way to help address the city’s critical education needs. They approved several great schools and saw the dramatic impact that creating world-class public education options had on the city and its families.

This progress encouraged them to think even bigger: what if every child in Indianapolis could have the opportunity to receive a life-changing education?

Peterson and Harris knew that making this a reality would require creating enough great schools for every student to be able to attend one. They launched The Mind Trust in 2006 to help do that.