May 19, 2017
Jane DeVoe is no stranger to IPS. She attended Mary E. Nicholson
School 70 during her elementary years and is a proud graduate of Shortridge
High School. She also worked as a teacher in the district.
The proud mother of two spent her career working with children
and families. She aspires to continue on the education path and pass on the knowledge
she’s gained on important matters in education — including funding; caring for
children and working women; and encouraging understanding of her new-found love
for educational neuroscience, which sheds light on how children learn in
DeVoe comes from a family who was heavily involved in the
community. She recently reflected on the countless memories that inspired her
and made her who she is today. She also talked about her ambitions and the legacy
she wants to maintain in education.
Early life in Indianapolis …
My parents returned to Indianapolis when I was 3
years old. I grew up the eldest child with two younger brothers. I came from a
family where women were encouraged and expected to attend college. Both of my
parents graduated from Purdue University, where we lived while my father earned
his Ph.D. My mother was very involved with the PTO of the schools we attended,
as well as the IPS Foundation Board.
I grew up in a family within an integrated
neighborhood, where the residents took an active part in our community,
especially between 1967-1970, a time where court-ordered desegregation affected
the IPS district. Many in my family have been proud social activists for
generations, some even heavily involved with the Underground Railroad.
Additionally, I grew up down the street from Mary
E. Nicholson School 70 (now the Center for Inquiry School 70), where I attended
elementary school. School 70 was the anchor of the neighborhood, where lots of
community activities happened. Neighborhood children would play at the
playground after school and on weekends and I remember there being a huge
carnival at the school in May and a Pumpkin Patch event in the fall. My mom and
other mothers were part of a movement to allow young girls to wear pants to
school along with skirts and dresses, which happened when I was in third grade
and Mr. James Steckley became our principal!
Moreover, School 70 was named after my great-great aunt,
Mary E. Nicholson. Aunt Mary was a principal, teacher and was on the IPS School
Board. She was the first woman in many different pursuits.
Your experience at Shortridge …
first day was amazing and scary only because the school was huge and I was a
typical freshman! Attending SHS was an integral part of my understanding of
what it was like to be in the minority and all of the positives and negatives
that go with that type of experience, which was new to me. I realized that we
as people are more alike than different and my experience at Shortridge taught
me to respect diverse cultures, religions and areas of interest — whether it
was academics, sports or other talent.
am still friends with people from Shortridge. SHS was a musically and artistically
enriched school, where we had a school newspaper, The Shortridge Echo. To me, everyone
seemed gifted at something because the school offered arts, bands, sports, etc.
which gave students the opportunity to shine. It allowed everyone an
opportunity to share their talent. (Years ago), when the district was going to
close the school, it was like taking away the opportunity for future students
to shine. I was part of the protesting against the closing of Shortridge, along
with tons of other classmates and our parents while the School Board was
deliberating. I graduated in 1980, the next-to-the-last class to graduate.
Fondest IPS memory as a student …
for the Shortridge Echo was
great fun with my friends. I also really enjoyed being involved in
enrichment and social activities at Shortridge, including junior vaudeville and
the French Club dinner. My fondest memory would be experiences with the amazing
French Club at Shortridge. They would have a huge fundraiser that assisted
students to travel overseas. The club allowed me to go to Europe with the
school. We went to Germany and France for six weeks of merriment!
My IPS education prepared me for …
My education prepared me to be a lifelong learner and socially aware. It made
me who I am today. IPS is an amazing school district and calls outstanding
leaders among the graduates of its high schools who have gone on to accomplish
Higher Education …
I went to Purdue University and graduated in
December 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and a minor in reading
and special education. I started pursing my master’s degree at Purdue, then
transferred to Butler because I started teaching for IPS. I taught academically
talented students for five years in IPS, then I taught in Washington Township
for seven years.
I am currently completing a certificate in educational
neuroscience at Butler and taking classes toward level 2 infant mental health certification.
since graduating …
I’ve spent my career working with children and
families. I’ve also spent some time as a special event planner. I enjoy
reading, writing and creating recipes.
an adult, I’ve enjoyed learning my family history and watching their impact on
the community throughout my life. Family
members (the Nicholson and McKay families) were involved in the foundation of
Herron School of Art, and worked to benefit the IPS school district. My great-great
grandfather was also involved with the formation of All Souls Unitarian Church.
As an adult, you appreciate family history in a way that was different from
when you were a child.
Proudest accomplishments …
children. I have two college-aged kids who are pursuing the arts. In addition,
I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve children and their parents.
It’s a thrill to have former students come back as adults to tell the
achievements they’ve accomplished in life.
have a son and daughter, Ted and Annie. Ted goes to Northern Michigan
University in Marquette, Mich.; Annie will be transferring to Purdue in the fall.
Interests/ Hobbies …
enjoy reading, writing, cooking and gardening. I volunteer at James Whitcomb
Riley School 43, with Art With a Heart, and at the TC Steele State Historic
Site. I am also a Teachers’ Treasures advisor.
fun fact about myself is that I love basketball, especially Purdue and the
Indiana Pacers. I am a dedicated supporter and fan of Purdue men’s basketball
and proud to be an IPS, Purdue and Butler alumnae.
aspire that one day funding is consistently in place to educate children in a
fair and equitable manner. I am passionate that educators and those working
with women and children apply what we are learning about educational neuroscience
and the brain and how it learns
in all our schools.
I aspire to lead and support the way for Pre-K for all children, as research
shows that early childhood education helps close the gap for our babies in IPS,
in hopes that they are equally educated through public education.
Final Quote …
“Share your story.
Tell us how you went from surviving to thriving. Stories have the power to
inspire people to change lives.” — Yung Pueblo