The Mind Trust shaped Indy’s charter scene. Now founder David Harris is going national.
Eleven years after founding a nonprofit that has dramatically reshaped Indianapolis schools, David Harris is stepping down to help launch an as yet unexplained national education group.
Harris is leaving his role as CEO of The Mind Trust, the most influential nonprofit in Indianapolis education, in April. He will be replaced by Brandon Brown, currently the nonprofit’s senior vice president of education innovation.
Harris’s impact on Indianapolis education has been immense but controversial. When charter schools came to Indiana in 2001, he led the office that oversaw the schools for Mayor Bart Peterson. In 2006, Peterson and Harris founded The Mind Trust with the aim of transforming the city’s education landscape. In the years since, the group has recruited education organizations to come to Indianapolis, incubated more than a dozen charter and innovation schools, given fellowships to more than 25 education leaders, and helped establish a new approach to partnerships between Indianapolis Public Schools and charter schools.
“David Harris is one of the most thoughtful and pragmatic education leaders in the nation,” Neerav Kingsland, who leads K-12 education work for the Arnold Foundation, wrote in an email. “The partnership between Indianapolis Public Schools and The Mind Trust serves as a model of how school districts and non-profits can work together to get more kids into great schools…”