School leaders play a major role in school and district performance and student academic outcomes.  The partnership between Indianapolis Public Schools and Marian University will allow us to build a team of future leaders for IPS. The Marian University Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership graduate degree program prepares IPS teaching staff to become licensed administrator in K-12 schools. In efforts of maintaining success and improving district performance, we are asking more of our school leaders and also providing them with the proper tools to boost their students’ academic success.
 
Twenty-four candidates were recommended for the program by their principal and after a lengthy application process 18 of those candidates were extended offers. This fall, 17 district educators enrolled into the 2015 cohort, 12 from elementary schools, three from secondary schools and two from IPS alternative programs. IPS has made a financial commitment of $50,000 per year for the next five years to enroll educators into Marian University’s Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership.  Under the terms agreement, each teacher will pay a third of his or her tuition costs and the rest will be covered by Marian University.
 
Classes are already underway for our future leaders; coursework this semester includes Authentic Leadership: the Courage to Lead, Systems Thinking/Models of Inquiry for Complex Problem Solving and Culture & Identity Leadership for High-Performing Schools.
 
Mrs. Fosnight, Literacy Coach from Carl Wilde Elementary School 79 is currently enrolled in the two-year Master’s program. She has her goals set early in her first semester with a vision of becoming an innovative leader in IPS, furthering her own education to provide the best education for her students. “Knowledge is power, the more knowledgeable and informed a person is, the better they are at making good, solid decisions that are best for the whole. Also they are more aware and have a better understanding of their surrounding world and the people in it. I think this program will make me a strong educator which will directly impact the students I serve,” said Fosnight.
 
Our goal is to provide a long line of exceptional future leaders within our district; this is an excellent opportunity for our teachers and we are grateful for community partners like Marian University for helping our district grow. Mrs. Fosnight reflects, “The Marian University program is not what I expected it to be, it’s ten times better! It challenges my thinking and my values and the traditional stereotypes of “good leaders.” It makes me look at the environments that I am in – both in IPS and outside of IPS – with different lenses. I feel it is making me a better person, and I am grateful for the opportunity!”