Skip to content

Alumni Spotlight–Five Questions with IPS Alums: Gisele Dollinger Looks Back at How District Made a Difference in Her Life

Indianapolis Public Schools is proud of our graduates and their diverse, inspiring journeys. We have created the IPS Alumni Spotlight to celebrate our former students and showcase their experiences, accomplishments, and personal interests. We believe that every graduate has a unique path, and we can all learn from their journeys.

IPS recently asked Gisele Dollinger, a 1982 graduate of Thomas Carr Howe High School, about her journey that began in the state’s largest school district. 

Q—How did your experiences at Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) shape your educational foundation and career aspirations?

A—I had quality music education throughout my schooling in IPS, starting with Shirley Megnin (my mother) at the-school #77, Alberta Dink and Mr. Jones at #89, Mabel Lewis for high school orchestra, and Mr. Tom Lewis for concert choir/show choir. The fabulous coordination of the All-City orchestra and choir concerts, events, and camps under Mr. Shaw and Mr. Owen created connections I still have to this day. With that solid foundation, I was able to join the powerhouse music department at Arsenal Tech as their accompanist in 1990, enjoying making music and helping students grow there for 28 years.

Q—Can you share memorable moments or teachers who had a significant impact on your time at IPS?

A—I would have to say a memorable moment for me was when I enrolled in a computer class my senior year. With Jacqueline Greenwood as my teacher, I found I was intelligent in other areas than just music. 

Q–How has your education at IPS influenced your personal and professional development since graduating?

A—The high standards IPS teachers placed helped me move smoothly into college classes and work training environments. 

Q—In what ways have you stayed connected with the IPS community, and what advice would you offer current IPS students for a successful future?

A— Since I have worked in IPS now for 33 years, it’s like I’ve never left! IPS students need to know that quality education is being offered to them daily. They need to take advantage of every opportunity their schools offer to have a successful future. 

Q—What challenges did you face during your time at IPS, and how did overcoming them contribute to your personal growth?

A— I was in fourth grade when desegregation began, and that was a challenging time. It did help open my eyes and start seeing a world outside of myself. 

Q—Did you have a nickname and why?

A—I was known as Nutmeg. During our freshman year, we thought it would be fun to take the first three letters of our last name (Megnin), and then put a word in front of it to make a nickname.