Indianapolis – (May 24, 2018) The Mind Trust, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), and the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office today announced the selection of the fifth cohort of the Innovation School Fellowship, which empowers top educators to design, launch, and operate Innovation Network Schools in IPS. Previous recipients of the Fellowship include the current leaders of nine Innovation Network Schools and several of Indianapolis’ most prominent charter school networks. The newest Innovation School Fellows are: Tihesha Henderson (Indianapolis), Kimberly Neal (Washington D.C.), Alicia Hervey (Indianapolis), and Brandy Williams (New Orleans).
Innovation Network Schools are public schools that give building-level school leaders full academic and operational freedom to innovate in order to raise student achievement. Indiana school districts, such as IPS, may partner with nonprofits and charter school operators to launch brand new schools or convert existing schools into Innovation Network Schools.
The Innovation School Fellowship began in 2014 as a partnership between The Mind Trust, IPS, and The Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation to attract top educators to launch and lead high-quality Innovation Network Schools. Now in its 5th year, the fellowship has helped grow the number of Innovation Network Schools in IPS to 20 schools this fall. Already, these schools have seen significant enrollment growth and improvement in student achievement.
“Over the past four years, the Innovation School Fellowship has empowered talented school leaders from across the city and country to realize their ambitious visions for high-quality autonomous schools, making Indianapolis arguably the best city in the country to launch a new school,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust. “The four impressive fellows named today are poised to continue the significant impact previous Innovation School Fellows are already having on students in our city.”
“We anticipate that this year’s lineup of impressive fellows will help expand our exciting options in innovative educational models,” said IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee. “Committing to developing these talented leaders will support increased student achievement in IPS.”
“The Innovation School Fellowship has improved academic outcomes for Indianapolis youth in meaningful ways,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “We are proud to continue this partnership with IPS and The Mind Trust, developing the next cohort of educational leaders and providing innovative learning opportunities for our city’s students.”
The Innovation School Fellowship provides educators with one or two full years of planning time and resources to design and launch their new school. In addition to salary and benefits, The Mind Trust provides fellows with a robust portfolio of supports. Fellows have access to an extensive network of local and national experts, professional development experiences, community engagement training, and the opportunity to travel to and learn from the nation’s best schools.
During the fellowship, Fellows present a full plan for their school to the IPS Board of School Commissioners for final approval to become an Innovation Network School. Fellows may also choose to seek charter authorization from the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation.
The new fellows are:
Tihesha Henderson – An Indianapolis native and IPS alumna, Tihesha Henderson is the Principal of Arlington Woods Elementary School 99 and has served in multiple principal capacities during her 18-year career with IPS. As Principal of School 99 since 2012, Henderson has overseen the implementation of the Project: RESTORE school turnaround model and designed her school’s framework for Social Emotional Learning as a member of the Autonomy Pilot Cohort in 2016. Previously, she served as principal of IPS’ Joyce Kilmer Academy School 69 and Charles W. Fairbanks School 105.
Henderson will use the Innovation School Fellowship to redesign the school model of Arlington Woods School 99 to further address the pervasive trauma-related and social emotional needs of its student body. Her model will center on core social-emotional competencies and better integrate social-emotional support for students into her school day. Henderson will also expand the school’s strong partnership with nearby Eastern Star Church. Henderson earned her Principal’s License and M.A. in Education from Indiana Wesleyan University and her B.A. in Elementary Education from Indiana State University.
Kim Neal – Kim Neal currently serves as the Managing Director of Secondary Education for KIPP:DC, where she manages principals and oversees the planning, implementation, and evaluation of grades 5-12 instructional programs for KIPP:DC’s 16 charter schools. Previously, she served as a principal of KIPP:DC’s largest middle school, AIM Academy, which she turned around to become the highest performing school in Ward 8. Prior to her work for KIPP, Neal founded Muchin College Prep, which remains the highest performing school in Noble Network of Charter Schools and one of Chicago’s best schools.
Neal plans to launch a rigorous college preparatory high school designed to help students develop self-regulation, self-efficacy, and leadership skills through small learning environments. She aspires for her future students to have the opportunity to attend the country’s most competitive colleges. She holds an M.A. in Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, an M.A. in Education from Columbia University, and is a graduate of Relay Graduate School of Education’s National Principal Supervisors Academy Fellowship.
Brandy Williams – An expert in special education, Brandy Williams has served in various leadership capacities impacting students with a wide range of exceptionalities at New Orleans College Prep, Celerity Education Group, and St. Martin’s Episcopal School.
Over the last two years, Williams has designed, developed, and piloted her school model in New Orleans through 4.0 Schools. Williams plans to use the Innovation School Fellowship to launch this model, Generation Success, in Indianapolis. Generation Success serves the most vulnerable and underserved learners through a focus on social-emotional learning. Her model employs project-based learning, age-flexible classrooms, and design thinking, which are intended to improve academic achievement for all students. Williams holds an M.S. in Education Leadership from Concordia University and an M.S. in Psychology and Public Policy from Walden University.
Alicia Hervey – An Indianapolis native, Alicia Hervey has served in various instructional leadership capacities in both charter and district schools during the course of her 25-year career in education. Hervey currently serves as Dean of Student Development for Christel House Academies and previously served as Turnaround Principal for Arlington High School, Assistant Principal for Tindley Preparatory Academy, and Assistant Principal for School Without Walls in Washington D.C. Notably, Hervey served as Director of DC Public Schools’ Master Educator Program, overseeing highly selective corps of master teachers charged with evaluating and supporting teachers across the district. She served as a Master Educator herself prior to becoming the program’s Director.
Hervey plans to launch a culturally-responsive, holistic learning school that focuses on individually supporting each student. Her school will feature teams that support groups of students through their entire school experience. Hervey holds an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Columbia University and a B.S in Language Arts Education from Tuskegee University.