Press Releases | August 26, 2016

The Mind Trust to partner with Purdue, Herron High School to help launch two new high schools

Indianapolis – The Mind Trust announced today that it will partner with Purdue University and Herron High School (HHS) to launch two new public high schools in Indianapolis – the new Purdue Polytechnic High School and the new Riverside High School, respectively.  Both schools will be tuition-free and open to neighborhood students, as well as students from across the city.

The Mind Trust awarded Purdue an Innovation School Fellowship, which supports talented education innovators as they launch new Innovation Network Schools in the city.  HHS is the first recipient of the new Charter School Fellowship, which helps launch or replicate independent charter schools in the city.

“These new high schools will be historic and transformative for public education in our city,” said David Harris, founder & CEO of The Mind Trust.  “We could not be more excited to partner with the cutting edge minds at Purdue University and the education pioneers at Herron High School who have built a proven, successful school model that will bring even more opportunities to students and families in our community.”

The Mind Trust provides fellows with and extensive series of supports as they design and launch new schools, including salary, benefits, office space, access to The Mind Trust’s local and national network of education experts, travel to successful schools across the country and more.  The new fellowship teams are:

  • Shatoya Jordan & Scott Bess, Purdue Polytechnic. Purdue has selected Jordan as the first principal of Purdue Polytechnic.  She was formerly a teacher and administrator with The Excel Center, a statewide network of charter high schools operated by Goodwill Education Initiatives (GEI) for adults who have dropped out of high school.   She will work closely with Bess, Purdue’s new head of school.  Bess is the former president of GEI, Goodwill’s arm that launches new educational opportunities throughout the region.

In 2015, Purdue announced plans for the new school as a bridge for center-city students and others to succeed in high school with direct pathways to the university.  The curriculum will be STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering and math) and will mirror the transformed Purdue Polytechnic Institute in West Lafayette.  It is scheduled to open in 2017 as both an Innovation Network School and charter school.  Purdue will announce the downtown location for the new school in the near future.

“We are grateful to The Mind Trust for granting this fellowship to Purdue Polytechnic High School,” said Bess.  “Our innovative approach to high school education will be greatly advanced by The Mind Trust’s network of national experts and local support.”

  • Katie Dorsey & Janet McNeal, Riverside High School. Dorsey, who will be principal of the new school, has been a classroom teacher in the Decatur, Franklin and Pike school districts and most recently was a teacher, counselor and administrator at HHS.  McNeal has served as head of school at HHS since its founding in 2006.  Before joining HHS, she was the academic dean at Cathedral High School.  She will oversee both the Riverside and the original HHS campuses.

Riverside High School will be a replication of HHS’ enormously successful classical liberal arts school model, which has been ranked among the top academic programs in the nation.  The new school is scheduled to open in 2017 and is planning to occupy the old Heslar Naval Armory building on the near northwest side.  Since HHS has a waiting list of hundreds of students, the new school will expose even more students to this high-quality educational option.

“We are delighted and honored to have this opportunity that is made possible by The Mind Trust,” McNeal said.  “Our desire to provide a high-quality, classical, liberal arts education to our students will be greatly enhanced by The Mind Trust’s passion and commitment to high-performing schools in our city.”