Shatoya Ward & Scott Bess

Innovation School Fellows: 2016

Purdue Polytechnic High School

Shatoya and Scott standing side by side

Shatoya Ward and Scott Bess will lead Purdue Polytechnic High School, a new STEM-focused high school in downtown Indianapolis.  The school will serve as a bridge for center-city students to learn in a transformative high school with project-based, hands-on learning. Successful graduates will have direct pathways to Purdue University. 

Purdue Polytechnic High School will be the university’s first charter school. It will emphasize STEM learning – science, technology, engineering and math – and will mirror the transformed Purdue Polytechnic Institute on the West Lafayette campus.

When it opens in August 2017 with an inaugural class of 150 ninth graders, the high school will ask students to be prepared for a very challenging curriculum developed by university professors and members of industry.  The university will announce a location for the school in the near future.

Shatoya and Scott bring to the fellowship their experience working with Goodwill Education Initiatives (GEI), Goodwill’s arm that identifies and launches new educational opportunities throughout the Indianapolis region, and its Excel Center, a network of high schools for adults who had previously dropped out.  Purdue selected Shatoya as the first principal for the high school, where she will work closely with Scott, who will be head of school.

Shatoya had been a teacher and administrator with the Excel Center since 2010.  As regional director, she was responsible for the academic and operational performance of several schools. She previously was a school director and lead teacher at the center. Before joining the Excel Center, she was a science teacher in the Indianapolis Public Schools and a local charter school.  Shatoya earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education, health and safety science, and biology and her master’s degree in leadership administration, both from Marian University.

Scott is the former president & CEO of GEI.  Before assuming this role in 2004, he was chief information officer for Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana and served in similar technology roles in the private sector.  Scott began his career as a teacher and coach in the Beech Grove school system.  He also served four terms as a member of the Danville Community Schools board.  Scott received a bachelor’s degree in math education from Purdue and a master’s degree in teaching from Marian University, where he was a part of the Turnaround School Leadership program.