Press Releases | July 10, 2023

The Mind Trust announces promotions, adds executive leadership positions as education nonprofit expands impact

The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit, today announced the creation of two new executive positions and four promotions. The two new executive roles of Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer establish an executive leadership structure responsive to the nonprofit’s expanded priorities, rapid growth, and continued commitment to Hoosier students and families. The promotions elevate leaders who are committed to educational equity, programmatic and operational excellence, and visionary solutions that create a transformational impact for students and families in Indianapolis and beyond. 

“For 17 years, The Mind Trust has made an indelible impact in Indianapolis by ensuring more students have access to high-quality schools, attracting talented educators to our city, and championing innovative solutions that improve our education system. These organizational shifts reflect our deep commitment to continuing that work in Indianapolis and beyond,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust. “We have a team full of leaders who embody our enduring belief that every student, no exceptions, deserves access to a great education.”

“The Mind Trust is a national leader in creating solutions that make a real difference in the lives of students and families,” said Jim Schumacher, The Mind Trust’s Board Chairman. “I am excited to see the organization’s work deepen in our state and grow to serve additional communities.”


Shannon Williams, Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President

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Shannon Williams has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President. In this role, Williams will oversee The Mind Trust’s impact in Indianapolis, serve alongside the CEO as an external leader of the organization, and ensure the success of various local and statewide initiatives that accelerate student learning. She will continue to lead all external affairs by managing The Mind Trust’s community engagement, communications, and development teams. Additionally, Williams will take on management of The Mind Trust’s school support team, overseeing both local and statewide efforts that drive student achievement.

Since joining The Mind Trust in 2018, Williams has elevated the nonprofit’s communications, community engagement, and development work. She has been integral in the development of key initiatives, including Indy Summer Learning Labs, EmpowerED Families, and a biennial signature fundraising event. Williams also serves as a critical partner to the CEO, advising on major organizational strategy and solutions that center the needs of students and families. Prior to joining The Mind Trust, Williams served in various leadership capacities in the media industry for nearly two decades, including as president of the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper and the Indiana Minority Business Magazine

Kristin Grimme, Chief Strategy Officer

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Kristin Grimme has been promoted to Chief Strategy Officer. In this role, Grimme will oversee The Mind Trust’s implementation of its strategic plan by ensuring strategic coherence across the organization. She will manage The Mind Trust’s efforts to expand the organization’s impact, with a focus on both programmatic and geographic expansion. In addition, Grimme will oversee The Mind Trust’s school incubation, leadership development, research, and policy priorities. She will also manage investments and relationships with a robust network of education nonprofit organizations, many of which launched with support from The Mind Trust.

Grimme joined The Mind Trust in 2016 and has effectively led strategies to grow new, high-quality public charter and innovation network schools in Indianapolis, advanced legislative priorities, and managed special projects that expand the nonprofit’s impact. Grimme led the creation of the team that operates Indiana Learns, a statewide tutoring grant program, on behalf of the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). Prior to joining The Mind Trust, Grimme served as the City of Indianapolis’ charter schools director under Mayors Greg Ballard and Joe Hogsett, overseeing 39 charter schools, serving about 13,000 students.

Porsche Chisley, Vice President of Expanded Impact

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Porsche Chisley has been promoted to Vice President of Expanded Impact. In this newly created role, she will be responsible for managing the expansion of The Mind Trust’s programmatic work outside of Indianapolis. Chisley will lead The Mind Trust’s work to bring its organizational experience, knowledge, and results to regions that are seeking a collaborative partner to drive academic outcomes for students. 

Chisley joined The Mind Trust in 2020 and has led the nonprofit’s work to impact regions outside of Indianapolis through invited collaboration with education-focused organizations and regional entities. She managed a partnership with IDOE to create the Indiana Learning Lab, an online hub of learning resources for Indiana educators and families created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to joining The Mind Trust, Chisley served as the Vice President of School Improvement for an Ohio charter school authorizer serving over 13,000 students.

Madeline Poulakidas, Senior Director of Finance and Operations

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Madeline Poulakidas has been promoted to Senior Director of Finance and Operations. In this role, she will serve as the organizational lead on risk management and contracts, execute critical financial management and accounting duties, and provide strategic operational support to The Mind Trust’s growth and expansion opportunities outside of Indianapolis.. 

Poulakidas joined The Mind Trust in 2012 and has played a key role in ensuring strong financial and operational practices for the growing nonprofit. Additionally, she has worked closely with the racial equity and finance teams to ensure equitable compensation practices, diverse vendor procurement, and improved operational procedures to support the rapidly growing team. 

About The Mind Trust’s impact and expanded work

Founded in 2006, The Mind Trust works to ensure every student, no exceptions, has access to an excellent education, in pursuit of a day when race and income are no longer predictors of life outcomes. The education nonprofit does this by growing and supporting great public schools, developing and managing high-impact academic initiatives, advocating for smart education policy, and authentically engaging the community.

Charter and innovation school students currently make up 58.3% of public school enrollment within Indianapolis Public School (IPS) boundaries. Indianapolis families’ access to more public school options is due in part to The Mind Trust’s work to support innovative, experienced leaders in launching high-quality schools. Additionally, charter and innovation network schools have produced academic gains for all students, in particular Black, Latino, and low-income students. A 2022 Stanford study found increased learning gains for students in autonomous schools compared to their local peers in district-run schools. 

Over the last three years, The Mind Trust has expanded its impact beyond IPS’ boundaries through key partnerships with the IDOE, United Way of Central Indiana, and MSD Decatur Township. Through 17 years of experience and proven results, The Mind Trust has gained interest from organizations across the state and country that want to bring best practices in school incubation, talent development, and academic programming from Indianapolis to their region.