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Alumni Spotlight—Five Questions with IPS Alums: Glenn Sampson Looks Back at How the District Made a Difference in His 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 Glenn Sampson, a 1980 graduate of Arlington High School, about his journey in the state’s largest school district. After graduating from high school, he went on to attend Kettering University (formerly the General Motors Institute), earning a bachelor’s degree in computer-aided manufacturing and related systems in 1985. He then earned his MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in 1995.

After graduating from Kettering, Sampson began a 43-year career with General Motors and retired in 2023 as the regional finance leader for half of General Motors’ manufacturing plant assets in Indiana.

Today, he currently serves on the board of directors for the Outdoor Youth Exploration Academy (OYEA). an Indianapolis-based charitable organization whose mission is to encourage our urban youth to participate in safe, outdoor sporting activities; educate them about the environment and conservation concepts; and introduce them to green careers in environmental management, wildlife conservation, forestry, and biology.

Q—How did your experiences at Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) shape your educational foundation and career aspirations?
A – My experiences at Arlington High School helped push me to excel academically and guide my talents and interests toward a rewarding career in STEM (e.g. mechanical engineering) and later in corporate finance.

Q–Can you share memorable moments or teachers who had a significant impact on your time at IPS?
A—Without a doubt, the IPS teacher/coach/mentor that had the greatest impact on my life was IPS Alumni, IHSAA wrestling state championship runner-up, Indiana University D1 athlete, art teacher, and wrestling coach, Mr. James R Lentz. In addition to being a great art teacher, he was an impactful coach who taught life lessons that extended well beyond the wrestling mat and gymnasium. We maintained a relationship until he died in 2014. The IPS teachers and administrators helped ensure my academic success. And my peer group helped challenge each other to academic excellence. Additionally, my athletic coach(es) taught me life lessons.

Q—What specific skills or knowledge gained at IPS have proven most valuable in your current life or career?
A—I found the mathematical courses to be the most valuable over my lifetime since my undergraduate degree pursuit was in mechanical engineering. My IPS teachers and counselors encouraged me to take the higher, advanced math courses — including calculus — which made their more in-depth learning in college a bit less difficult. And most things in life have an important component of mathematics embedded within them (e.g. shopping, budgeting, tuition, and paying rent)!

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—I would encourage current IPS students to work hard, excel academically, learn great study skills, make great friends, and take full advantage of every opportunity offered to them. I appreciate the developmental experiences provided by IPS Sports, the Center for Leadership Development, the National Honor Society, Hoosier Boys State, Lilly Endowment Project Leadership Service, Boy Scouts of America, and the AME Zion Church.

Q—What challenges did you face during your time at IPS, and how did overcoming them contribute to your personal growth?
A—I was a kid who enrolled in an IPS high school from a Christian, private school. So, the social transition was a bit of an adjustment. However, my parents strongly believed that the IPS education would be beneficial, the support systems more available, and the social aspects would be a great “lead in” to “real life”. In addition to classroom instruction, I participated in extracurricular activities like the National Honor Society, newspaper staff, football, and wrestling. I ended up adjusting well; getting a good education; making great, life-long friends; and graduating from Arlington High School with academic accolades.