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Exciting Leadership Changes Underway as Part of the Rebuilding Stronger

Program changes and leadership updates

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is entering an exciting phase in its ongoing journey to ensure every student has access to the best education possible. As part of Rebuilding Stronger, a series of leadership changes are taking place within our schools to better align with the programmatic shifts slated for the 2023–24 and 2024–25 school year. These changes come as a result of careful planning and collaboration between the School Supervision Team, Human Resources, and other key stakeholders. Our goal is to provide each school community with the strong leadership they deserve as we embark on this transformative journey.

Through Rebuilding Stronger, we aim to create schools that are responsive to the unique needs of their communities while fostering an environment of collaboration, innovation, and excellence. By pairing the strengths and experiences of our school leaders with the specific requirements of each program and community, we will ensure that every student has the opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.

As we prepare for the 2023–24 planning year, we are excited to share news of the leadership transitions taking place within our programs across our schools. These shifts are designed to support the schools’ evolution and pave the way for a successful transition in the upcoming school year. We believe that these changes will not only strengthen our schools but also solidify the trust of our students, parents, and community partners as we work together to build a brighter future for all.

Leadership at the Programmatic Shift Schools

We are proud to introduce the dedicated leaders who will be guiding our program change schools during this pivotal transition. In this section, you will find a list of the leadership changes along with a bio and photo of each leader. These talented individuals have been thoughtfully chosen to align with the unique needs and goals of each school community, ensuring a strong foundation for our students’ success.

Brandon Warren

Beginning in the 2023–24 school year, Brandon A. Warren will become principal of Carl Wilde School 79.  He has been in education for 15 years serving as a principal, assistant principal, multi-classroom leader and a classroom teacher, teaching 2nd through 6th grade. This year he is serving as principal at Raymond Brandes School 65. Through his implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) at Raymond Brandes, he was able to reduce the suspension rate by 88%. In July 2022, he was named the top finalist for the 2022 Distinguished Educator Award presented by Indiana Black Expo (IBE), and won a 2022 Jeep Compass during the IBE Education Conference.  

Prior to his principalship, Warren was assistant principal at Brookside School 54 where they had the second highest growth rate in the district on NWEA from beginning of the year to the middle of the year and was recognized as a Learning School of Excellence by Imagine Learning. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from IUPUI. 

He is excited to support Carl Wilde through the transition of becoming a CFI school.

Dwayne Lucas

Dwayne Lucas is the current Principal at Robert Frost School 106. He has been in this position since the beginning of this school year with a focus on data-driven decision-making, teacher collaboration, and ensuring all students receive high-quality instruction.

Lucas has over 14 years of experience in education. Prior to serving at Robert Frost, he was the assistant principal at Clarence Farrington School 61, where he worked to improve the culture — reducing suspension rates by over 50%.

He looks forward to leading the Robert Frost family through the transition of becoming a STEM school and believes that he can establish a culture of collaboration and shared success. 

Krista Douglass

Krista Douglass is currently the principal at Eleanor Skillen School 34 and has served in this position for the last two years. She is eager to continue in this role and to lead the Eleanor Skillen family through the transition to become a Montessori program. She is also excited that south side families will have access to more diverse academic program options.

Douglass is most proud of creating a welcoming, positive school environment and decreasing suspensions through restorative practices. During her tenure at Skillen, IREAD-3 scores increased by 12%, and NWEA scores have shown tremendous student growth.
Before beginning at Eleanor Skillen, Douglass was the principal at Raymond F. Brandes School 65 for two years, and assistant principal at Lew Wallace School 107 for three years. She has taught Grades K, 1st, 3rd and 4th, and also served as an instructional coach. She is a proud graduate of Butler University and mother of two young daughters.

Nichole Morrow-Weaver

Nichole Morrow-Weaver graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Special Education. She began her teaching career in Decatur Township where she served as a middle school special education teacher, special education department chair, school and district leadership team member, IUPUI Canvas cadre member, and a high school girls basketball coach. Morrow-Weaver returned to Ball State University to complete her Master of Arts in Educational Administration and Supervision. 
She began her career in IPS as the assistant principal of Northwest in 2018 when it reopened as a middle school and will be transitioning from assistant principal to principal for the 2023–24 school year.

The school has seen a more than 60% decrease in the use of exclusionary practices and has a student course pass rate of 94% through the implementation and prioritization of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), trauma informed instruction, and restorative practices. In collaboration with current Principal Phil Shults, Morrow-Weaver has formed strong partnerships with IMPD Cares, Reclaiming the Village, Eli Lilly, and Teachers Treasures. In this past academic year, Northwest has implemented Project Lead the Way and created the district’s first eSports Club.

Morrow-Weaver is a dedicated middle school leader who believes that through collective efficacy and strong stakeholder relationships, all students can achieve at high levels. She passionately believes that a high-quality, equitable, and enriching middle grades experience is the key to ensuring our students success in high school.

Iesha Billups

Iesha Billups has been serving as the interim principal at Arlington Middle School since November 2022. During this short period of time, she has worked diligently to improve the climate and culture of the building. She is proud to share that from December to February, attendance increased 2.6% and there was a 25% decrease in referrals from Q2 to Q3. She has worked with teachers to implement data-driven lesson planning to ensure student needs are being met, resulting in an increase in ELA and Math NWEA growth scores from the beginning of the year to the middle of the year.

Billups will continue at Arlington, becoming principal for the 2023–24 school year. She will also lead the school’s transition to a STEM middle school.

Billups has more than 15 years of experience in urban education. She has experience in multiple levels of leadership as she has previously served as an elementary teacher, K-12 instructional coach, high school basketball coach, and 7-12 assistant principal. She has nine years of administrative experience, leading efforts across two high schools to increase academic achievement and growth. In addition to these previous roles, she spent time overseas as an English instructor for Hungarian students. 

During her leadership, prior to her time at Arlington, she is proud of the following accomplishments:
* Being an innovative master scheduler, incorporating time for teachers to collaborate and adding more advanced placement and dual credit courses.
* Leading racial equity work where 100% of teachers incorporate culturally relevant strategies.
* Increasing on-time graduation at George Washington High School from 63.2% in 2020 to 72.7% in 2022.

Keisha Odom

Keisha Odom discovered her passion for education as a volunteer tutor for students who struggled in mathematics. She worked several years as a secondary math teacher in Hammond Public Schools and Merrillville School Corporation in Northwest Indiana before becoming an assistant principal in the Gary Community School Corporation. She later became the assistant principal at University Elementary School, an International Baccalaureate Primary Year World School in Bloomington, Ind. She has also served on several Indiana Department of Education committees that were created to develop ILEARN testing.

Odom received her bachelor’s degree in management from Kettering University, completed the Transition to Teaching Program at Indiana Wesleyan University, and holds two master’s degrees in Secondary Education and Educational Leadership from Indiana University Northwest. She is currently participating in the IPS Principal Residency Program. This experience has given her IPS administrative experience and an opportunity to receive professional development which is focused on developing effective school leaders.  

After entering this program, Odom spent her first semester at Lew Wallace School 107 and the second semester at Francis W. Parker Montessori School 56. While diversifying her experience in the residency program, Odom has also developed relationships with staff, students, families, and community partners. During her time at Lew Wallace, she helped developed additional academic checkpoints for students to ensure mastery of academic standards. At Francis Parker, she is working to establish G.I.R.L.S. Coalition and Growing Integrity through Respect, Leadership, and Service, a student-centered mentoring program.

Throughout her experiences, Odom has always focused on improving student academic achievement through data-driven instruction while also providing a safe space where all students can thrive. She is excited to utilize her knowledge, experiences, far reaching skills and professional insight to support the IPS community.

Odom will become principal of Longfellow starting with the 2023–24 school year and is excited to lead the school through the transition of becoming an International Baccalaureate middle school.

Amanda Faulkner

Beginning in the 2023–2024 school year, Amanda Faulker will become principal of James A. Garfield School 31. Faulker has been a part of the IPS family for the last 27 years.

She has served in multiple positions, including as a teacher in Grades 1-3, assistant principal, and principal. Most recently, she has been the principal at Carl Wilde School 79 for the last five years. She is most proud of this year’s school fall Panorama data (which measures school climate based on student, family and staff surveys) where all areas showed improvement. The highest increase was in student/teacher relationships. Additionally, the diversity and inclusion score, which measures how students in all demographics feel they are treated at school, went up 22%. Last year, student discipline and attendance goals were met after Faulkner led the implementation Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Staff retention was at 100%. 

Faulkner worked hard to create a school culture where students and staff want to be. Additionally, achievement increased with ILEARN proficiency rates increasing in ELA by 3% and math by 2%.

She is excited to become the new principal at James A. Garfield School 31 and to lead the transition to becoming a STEM school.

Carmen Sharp

Currently, Carmen Sharp is principal at Anna Brochhausen School 88. She has been in this position for the last nine years and is excited to continue in this role and to lead the School 88 family through becoming a STEM school.

This is the third year that all students at Anna Brochhausen have received STEM instruction through Project Lead the Way programing.

Sharp is most proud of creating a welcoming and supportive school environment where they have reduced the suspension rate to zero. During the last school year, the school met all of its ILEARN proficiency goals for ELA and Math. The school also met discipline and attendance goals last year and are on track to meet them this year as well. 

Sharp is very focused on ensuring that we are not under-serving any students but over-serving all students.  

Christine Rembert

Christine Leonard Rembert has served as principal at Francis W. Parker Montessori School 56 for nine years. Before that she was the assistant principal at Meredith Nicholson School 96, and a special education teacher, a Montessori Instructional assistant, and a youth minister.

Her three adult sons JT, David and Aaron are the delights of her life — along with her dog Jean-Luc. Rembert said that she was the first legal trans-racial adoption in the state of California in 1969, and that her three adopted sons have taught her about “our given and chosen families.” 

Rembert loves being alongside people as they learn. She’s an extrovert who will externally process with anyone. She has also traveled to 42 states and 15 countries. Her two favorite places are Depot Pond on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Trafalgar Square, London, UK.
She believes that her years working with and learning from people, communicating and encouraging, experiencing other cultures, parenting boys in Indiana, building relationships, and her commitment to student achievement, and being visible and seeing others, all have prepared her to be the principal and lead learner at James Russell Lowell Montessori School 51.

Daria Parham

Daria Parham is the school leader at Paul I. Miller Elementary School. She has more than 19 years of experience in education, as a teacher and administrator. During her time as principal, Paul I. Miller has seen great gains in academic achievement and growth. She attributes this success to the implementation of leadership moves such as setting clear goals and expectations, establishing a culture of transparency, cultivating leaders among her team, and celebrating staff and student success. Her plan is to continue implementing these leadership moves as she leads the merger between Paul I. Miller and Frederick Douglass School 19.

Parham has most recently received the following awards for her efforts; 2023 IPS Principal of the Year, 2022 Black Excellence in Education Award, and 2023 Community MVP for the Darius Shaquille Leonard Maniac Foundation. 

She is excited to serve the students and families at Frederick Douglass School 19 starting with the 2023–24 school year. Her goal is to continue to provide a supportive climate and culture that is conducive to teaching and learning. By doing so, each student and teacher will experience growth to their highest potential.

Camile Haley 

Camille Haley is a native of Springfield, Illinois. She received her bachelors in Elementary Education with a Mild Intervention license from Butler University. While at Butler, she was able to study the Reggio Emilia approach in Italy. After graduating, she taught for seven years in an urban education setting — teaching special education, 2nd and 1st grade. With her dedication to small group instruction, creating a welcoming environment, and student choice driven classroom, her students demonstrate 1 year to 1.5 year growth in both NWEA math and reading. In addition to her teaching commitments, she became a mentor teacher.

Haley returned to Butler for her Masters in Effective Teaching and Leadership. While there, she researched, wrote and published a paper on best practices for social emotional learning with ELL students in the INTESOL Journal. She presented her findings at the INTESOL conference in 2017. Haley continued her education at Marian University, where she received her building administrator license.

Haley transitioned out of the classroom to the role of dean of instruction. In this role, she coached and was the direct manager of classroom teachers. Through crucial conversations, intentional team building, and team transparency, Haley retained 100% of her team throughout her three years. In her role as a dean, she developed her passion for being an instructional leader. She led and developed school-wide professional development, lesson internalization sessions, and a weekly data dive. Haley provided intentional and specially designed coaching for each member of her team by modeling effective teaching, co-teaching, and frequent feedback to her teachers. To combat the pandemic learning loss in Year 3, Haley collaborated with her leadership team to establish an intensive reading intervention. All students from Grades 4-6 received an additional hour of foundation reading instruction.

Haley currently serves as a principal resident at Paul I. Miller School 114. She has immersed herself in the Wildcat way as a part of the administration team.

She is excited for her new role at George W. Julian School 57, which is transitioning to a CFI school, beginning with the 2024–25 school year. She looks forward to using data to make decisions while building relationships with staff, students, and families.

Chante Campbell will remain principal at George W. Julian through the 2023–24 school year.

Phil Shults

Phil Shults has served in multiple positions including math teacher, program director, dean, assistant principal, and principal – most recently the last five years being the principal of Northwest Middle School. Through implementation of restorative practices, trauma informed instruction, and building a strong school culture through Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) initiatives, Shults has reduced the number of suspensions by more than 60% since the 2019 school year. His efforts to reduce exclusionary practices have resulted in more than 94% of students passing all classes. 

In his second year at Northwest, Shults brought STEM to the school through Project Lead the Way.  Students achieved the third highest growth rates among IPS schools in math at the middle of year 2022 NWEA testing cycle. In his time at Northwest, he has partnered with IMPD Cares, Reclaiming the Village, Eli Lilly, and other organizations to bring mentoring and counseling programs to students. He has also partnered with an organization to bring eGaming as an after school activity — the first school in IPS to offer this activity to students.
Shults earned his Bachelor’s degree in Math Education from Florida State University and his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Stetson University. He taught math for three years before becoming a director of a non-profit organization in Florida for 10 years. Shults and his family returned to his wife’s hometown in 2005 and he rejoined the education field at Indianapolis Public Schools.
Shults enjoys all things outdoors including trail running, gardening and yard work, walking his dogs, and completing projects around the house. He is married and has one daughter.

Jessica Barnes will remain principal at William Penn through the 2023–24 school year.

Shults will become principal of William Penn, which is transitioning to a STEM middle school, starting with the 2024–25 school year.

New Middle School Executive Director of Schools

As Indianapolis Public Schools embraces the growth and development of our new middle schools, we recognize the importance of providing specialized support and guidance for these learning environments. To address this need, we are excited to announce the creation of the Middle School Executive Director role. This dedicated leader will focus on fostering academic excellence, cultivating safe and inclusive spaces, and ensuring a high-quality experience for all middle school students.

The Middle School Executive Director will work closely with school leaders, staff, and the wider IPS community to address the unique challenges and opportunities presented by middle school education. By offering tailored support and resources, the Executive Director will play a pivotal role in nurturing the success of our middle schools and helping them thrive within the Rebuilding Stronger campaign.

Dr. Stacy Bottley

Dr. Stacy Bottley comes from a proud family tradition of service in urban education. With almost 10 years of experience as an urban school administrator, Bottley has served as an IPS elementary principal where she improved overall academic performance on the ISTEP standardized state test, increasing the school’s letter grade from an “F” to a “B.” 

While at William McKinley Elementary School 39, Bottley emphasized identifying culturally responsive strategies to use in the classroom and decreased racial inequities in discipline to close the achievement gap. Then, in 2019, she became the principal of Henry W. Longfellow Medical/STEM Middle School 28. During her tenure, she led her school through the IDOE process and became a fully certified STEM school and also implemented restorative practices to increase student achievement, decrease out of school suspensions and create a sense of community. 

Recently, Bottley has researched diversity, equity and inclusion practices within K-12 schools, and has a passion to use her current knowledge to improve school cultures to improve workplace conditions and teacher retention. She has received various awards as a school leader, including the Junior Achievements 40 under 40, IPS Women in Leadership, African American Excellence in Achievement Award, High School Teacher of the Year and most recently the 2021 Ball State University Dissertation of the Year nomination. Dr. Bottley considers herself an educational change agent, seeking to create educational environments in which ALL students can excel regardless of their background, SES, race, parental support, or zip code.

Stay Informed and Get Involved

We encourage you to stay informed about the Rebuilding Stronger Plan and the leadership changes happening within IPS by visiting our webpage HERE. Your continued support and engagement are vital to the success of this ambitious initiative, and we are grateful for your partnership as we strive to create a stronger, more resilient IPS for generations to come.