Jeffrey Brooks – District 1

Jeffrey Brooks earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Valparaiso University and his Master of Education degree from Indiana Wesleyan University, completing work for his K-12 administration license there as well. Starting his career as a teacher at Hebron Elementary School. He continued at Joan Martin Elementary School (Hobart), at Franklin Township Middle School (Indianapolis), and at Grimmer Middle School (Schererville). Moving to Hanover, Indiana, he took the positions of assistant principal and athletic director at Hanover Central Middle School/High School. Then, in 2013, he returned to Hebron to become principal at the middle school. Jeffrey is most proud of the many projects stemming from Service Learning at the middle school, including students working at homeless shelters, visiting the elderly, and donating to the local food pantry. In Jeffrey’s time as principal, he has initiated a robotics class and started numerous extracurricular clubs, including Recess Rescuers, Principal’s Council, Book Club, Chess Club, Ag Club, Sign Language Club, Journal Club, and Wiffle Ball Club. His superintendent says he has “encouraged a unique environment where faculty, staff, and students are not afraid to take risks and try new things, without being judged for doing so.”

Kristie Stutsman – District 2

A graduate of Purdue University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and education and of Indiana University South Bend where she earned her Master of Science degree in secondary education as well as her administrative certification, Kristie Stutsman is currently the principal of West Side Middle School in the Elkhart Community Schools system. Following a seventeen-year career as a science teacher in middle school, Kristie first became assistant principal of West Side Middle School and then principal in 2000. She is particularly proud of the collaborative, supportive school culture she has led for eighteen years. Central to this positive culture is the successful structure of PBIS which she introduced to the school. She attributes years of high letter grades for West Side to her implementation of the 8-Step Model for School Improvement and to developing a strong PLC environment. Her superintendent observes that she has fostered a climate of collaboration among teachers and staff who share a common vision and mission, unafraid to think outside the box about how to meet the needs of students. In addition to her work at school, Kristie serves on the local Mental Health Association Board and on the Elkhart Education Foundation.

Lucas Fielden – District 3

Lucas Fielden earned his Bachelor of Education degree in secondary education and teaching from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and his Master of Education degree from Indiana Wesleyan University where he also completed the Principal Licensure program. After teaching social studies in East Allen County Schools, he became assistant principal and later principal of Garrett Middle School. Lucas is particularly proud of the Locomotive Learning Community he initiated to provide an option for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders identified through data and instructed by a team of four teachers who facilitate learning experiences for about 100 of the 420 students at Garrett Middle School. The three guiding principles he and his team established include developing relationships, meeting students at their level of understanding, and giving each student choice. In addition, Lucas set up an alternating PE/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) class for every student. Beyond the school’s walls, Lucas spearheaded a youth wrestling program in the community and also works with Junior Achievement.

Charles Gray – District 6

Charles Gray took his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and math education at the University of Indianapolis and his Master of Educational Administration degree at the University of Cincinnati. After teaching math in middle and high schools in both Indiana and Ohio over the course of seven years, Charles spent the next fifteen years in administration, serving as principal in elementary, middle, and high schools where he increased academic and extracurricular opportunities for students. At the time of his nomination, he was the principal of Knightstown Intermediate School. Though Charles faced the challenge of a school that includes both elementary and middle school students, his consistent leadership style kept the school running smoothly. He counts among his accomplishments the institution of after-school tutoring for 4th and 5th graders identified as having math and ELA concerns. In fact, the tutoring has been so successful that the elementary schools in the system have followed suit by establishing similar tutoring programs in their schools. In addition, Charles added courses for seventh and eighth grade students as well as a math lab support class for students in grades six through eight. He reached out to the community as well, participating in a variety of events, including homecoming parade, Jubilee Days, Fall Fest, and community service days. With an eye to school security, he has partnered with local law enforcement to allow the training of police dogs in the building.

Matt Kaiser – District 7

Matt Kaiser holds an undergraduate degree in elementary education from Miami University and a Master of Education and Allied Professions degree from the University of Dayton. Matt earned an additional master’s degree in strategic management from Indiana University. Beginning his career teaching eighth grade history in Hamilton Middle School (Ohio), he came to Indiana in 2003 to teach at Brownsburg Junior High School, the next year taking on the role of athletic director. The following year he became assistant principal at Brownsburg Middle School East. Since then, Matt served as principal at Center Grove Middle School North before moving on to Eastwood Middle School (MSD of Washington Township – Marion County) in the same position and now is the principal at Northview Middle School (an IB World School) in the same district. This year alone, Matt’s school has hosted numerous events aimed at bringing parents into the building in order to connect them with curriculum and instruction. Sensitive to the challenges faced by ELL students and their families, he began much smaller, more personal ELL family nights over the course of the past two years, successfully fostering connectivity between the school and those families. The Director of Secondary Education for Washington Township Schools says, “He is exceptional at moving his staff to become better educators, and he does so in an extremely collaborative fashion.” Reflecting Matt’s special interest in curriculum and instruction, he has served in multiple offices for the Indiana Curriculum and Instruction Association.

Julie Lautenschlager – District 8

Julie Lautenschlager earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business education as well as her Master’s of Education from Indiana State University. In the Vigo County School Corporation, she first taught at the Alternative High School where, after ten years, she became a part-time teacher/part-time assistant principal. Currently, Julie is the principal of West Vigo Middle School in West Terre Haute. During her second year at that school, she began a program that made it possible for students to track their academic data and learn to interpret it, ranging from ISTEP+ scores to SRI scores to Lexile level to Acuity scores as well as beginning and end of year writing prompt scores. In addition, students graphed their attendance and GPAs, allowing them to see a correlation between attendance and grades. All of this information is kept in individual student binders which parents are invited to come in and review twice a year, during which time students are encouraged to explain the data. Both staff and parents recognize her contributions to a climate of openness and goal-oriented growth.

Matt Clifford – District 10

Matt Clifford took his Bachelor’s degree in music education at DePauw University and his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision at Ball State. He began his career as band director at Greensburg High School and subsequently became principal at Greensburg Junior High School. Matt is particularly proud of changing the master schedule to accommodate targeted academic intervention in ELA and math and to increase instructional time in all classes. In addition, he volunteered his school to pilot the one to one Digital Learning Initiative in his district with great success. Dissatisfied with the data coming from the off-site alternative school, Matt brought that program back into the middle school, making significant changes to improve academic success, attendance, and behavioral statistics. PBIS at his school addresses lowering the number of suspensions, expulsions and other behavioral challenges. He attributes yearly improvement in overall test performance to the model of instruction created by his staff under his direction. He has also done a makeover of the teacher evaluation process, winning appreciation from his staff. His superintendent writes, “Mr. Clifford is a transformational leader who has shifted from being a building manager to truly being an education leader.”

Ryan Clark – District 11

Having earned his Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education at Indiana State University and his Master of Eduction degree in curriculum design at Olivet Nazarene University, he got his building level administrator license at Oakland City University and his superintendent’s license at Indiana State University. After teaching for eight years at Franklin Elementary School in Vincennes, he became the elementary/middle school principal at Carlisle Elementary/Middle School in Vincennes and is now Principal of Clark Middle School, also in Vincennes. Ryan is most proud of the result of this year’s intense reading intervention, serving the lowest 115 students in the school and yielding growth in reading level of over three years from August to May. Though he faced an uphill battle in reshaping the school culture, he achieved his goal and now boasts of a staff that is winning awards for teaching as well as building a school that now receives an A from the state. Ryan’s efforts extend well beyond the school’s walls to forge relationships with community groups, including the local counseling facility, Good Samaritan Hospital, the Department of Child Services, probation officers, the police department, and the fire department.

Jeremy Stewart – District 12

Jeremy Stewart graduated from Indiana University Southeast with a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education, three years later earning his master’s degree in secondary education from the same institution. In 2014. He completed the principal licensure work at Oakland City University. Matt began his teaching career at Jeffersonville High School where he taught mathematics. He next took on the dual roles of Dean of Students and Athletic Director at Charlestown Middle School. After serving a semester as interim principal at New Washington Elementary, he went on to become principal at Parkview Middle School, also part of the Clark County School System. Jeremy is proudest of beginning to implement the Power of ICU program to decrease student apathy and increase engagement. A member of the Leadership Southern Indiana Elevate Class of 2019, Jeremy seeks to embrace his community through civic engagement and servant leadership.

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