There will be a new Commissioner
at the district leadership’s next work session; the Indianapolis Public Schools
Board of School Commissioners have filled the vacancy in the District 1 seat. Commissioners
interviewed three impressive candidates in a public meeting and selected
Michael O’Connor to serve as Commissioner until the next election in November
2016.

“It was a very difficult
decision,” said Board President Diane Arnold. “We had three great candidates,
they all brought a different perspective and a different passion; it was
evident that they were people who were passionate about our children and our
district. I hope that moving forward they will consider running for the seat
when it’s up. The appointment is only to fill the seat until November of 2016,
and then there will be an election for that seat.”

Michael O’Connor works for Eli
Lilly and Company, where he is Director of State Government Affairs. He has
served the public previously as Chief Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff for
Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson. O’Connor has provided guidance for the United
Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) and Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana in
several board roles. For UWCI, he joined the “Ready to Learn, Ready to Earn”
Committee as Vice Chair, and served as Chair of the “Success by Six” program.
O’Connor currently serves on Goodwill’s educational initiatives board.

“He’s an experienced public servant. He knows his way around
public entities. He’s an expert around governments and how to be a good board
member because he has experience in a lot of different board situations. I
think he knows his way around the state legislature; I think he’ll be very
helpful to the team in advocating for IPS at that level as well. Because 90-95%
of our money comes from the state…we need to continue to develop a positive
relationship at the state level and really be able to tell the IPS story at
that level in a way that assures us we’re going to have adequate funding for
our children.”

O’Connor also worked with the
Indianapolis City-County Council and the Indianapolis Mayor’s office through
his role at Lilly to help pass the Indianapolis Early Childhood Education
program. This initiative combines public and private funding to assist families
in need with access to high quality early childhood education programs across
the city. His commitment to service in this high-need area was certainly
noticed by the Commissioners who selected O’Conner to join the Board.

“We understand that children need a good head start to be
able to be successful in school,” said President Arnold. “I think his
experience with that and his passion for that is something that’s also going to
help us on the Board.”

O’Connor will be sworn in at the Board’s Work Session on
September 15.

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