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School 70 History


Our school is named after Mary E. Nicholson (1839-1928), who made history as one of the first females – if not the first female – elected to public office in the state of Indiana when she was elected to the Indianapolis School Board in 1909.

Born in Greene County, Ohio, Mary E. Nicholson attended Antioch College and College Hill Seminary for Young Ladies before moving to Indianapolis in 1867 and beginning her teaching career. In 1884 she was named principal of the Indianapolis Normal School and held this position until she served on the school board. Nicholson beat four well-respected male business leaders to win a seat on the IPS school board. She won this election in a time women did not even have the right to vote. She served four years on the school board.

Other positions she held included president of the National Education Association from 1890 to 1891. She also was a member of the Board of Directors of the Herron Art Institute. CFI 70, which at the time was Public School No. 10 was named in her honor for serving more than 40 years with Indianapolis Public Schools.