Our Founder

David Harris, Founder of The Mind Trust

In 2006, David Harris founded The Mind Trust, a nonprofit focused on transforming public education with the mission to provide every Indianapolis student the opportunity to attend an excellent school. He served as the nonprofit’s CEO from 2006 to 2018 and built The Mind Trust into a national model for city-based education change.

Under his leadership, The Mind Trust advanced three key strategies for transforming K-12 education in Indianapolis: growing great schools; investing in talented educators to launch and staff these schools; and amplifying the conditions for schools’ success. Through its three incubators, The Mind Trust helped launch 17 high-quality schools and incubated eight nonprofits to provide these schools with critical support. In 2014, The Mind Trust formed a nationally unique partnership with the state’s largest public school district, Indianapolis Public Schools, and the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office to launch independently operated “Innovation Network Schools” within the district. The Mind Trust recruited Teach For America, TNTP, and Stand for Children to Indianapolis and formed a partnership with UNCF to engage the community.

Before starting The Mind Trust, Harris spent five years as Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson’s Charter Schools Director, where he built a charter school office that received Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government Award in 2006. He joined Peterson’s team after practicing law with the Indianapolis firm of Baker & Daniels and leading efforts to draft the Peterson Plan, the Mayor’s 1999 strategy for running city government.

Harris received a BA from Northwestern University and a law degree from Indiana University. He is chairman of the board for Education Cities and serves on the boards of the Nicholas H. Noyes Jr. Memorial Foundation and Teach For America Indianapolis.

In 2007, Harris was among 25 education leaders selected for the Aspen Institute and NewSchools Venture Fund’s inaugural Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Program. He has received Peer Forward’s (formerly College Summit) Let Talent Shine Award, Teachers’ Treasures Caring Spirit Award, Hope Academy’s Faces of Hope Award, Marian University’s Franciscan Values Award and Indy’s Best and Brightest Award from Junior Achievement of Central Indiana. In 2013, he was featured as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Profiles of Change” series. He has spoken at TEDx Indianapolis on “What we’re doing wrong in education” and was also named one of Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and was the inaugural winner of the St. Richard’s Episcopal School’s Eugene S. Pulliam Founders Medal for alumni who “demonstrate creative leadership and service that has benefited society.”