Greg Mikulich – District 1
In 1999, Greg Mikulich graduated from Trine University with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. That same year he began his teaching career in the North Newton School Corporation where he taught physical education for seventeen years. In 2006, he earned his Master of Science degree in secondary education from Indiana University Northwest, and, in 2015, his building level administrator licensure from Indiana Wesleyan University. Then, in 2016, he became principal at Lake Ridge New Tech Middle School. Currently, Greg is working towards his Ed.S. at Indiana State University. One of his proudest accomplishments as principal is the concept of Champions University: students with all As and Bs participate in an at-school e-learning day, self-guiding and monitoring their own work, and participating in team building activities, a guest speaker, relaxation time, and a dance party at the end of the day. In two years, Champions University increased from 35 to 146 students. The concept also allows teachers more time with students who need extra attention. One of his teachers writes of Greg that “He has a deep, personal commitment to education and his convictions have provided our school with the direction and purpose it needs.”
Jan Baker – District 2
A graduate of Indiana State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1997 and a Master of Science in education in 2003, Jan Baker began her career at Chauncey Rose Middle School (Vigo County Schools) teaching ELA and social studies. In 2003, she moved to Goshen Middle School to teach eighth grade language arts and in 2007 became assistant principal there. Since 2017, Jan has served as principal of Goshen Middle School. She takes particular pride in her school’s qualifying as an International Baccalaureate school in the midst of the current global pandemic. Despite the challenges of staying connected to all of her students and concern for their access not only to e-learning but also to food, Jan and her teachers rallied to the effort to conduct the virtual visit by the IB team and qualified in two weeks rather than the expected twelve. Serving as the longest Education Representative on the state board for the Indiana School Resource Officers Association, Jan also sits on the Elkhart County School Safety Commission.
Joshua St. John – District 3
Joshua St. John earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics teaching from Purdue University Fort Wayne in May 1999. He taught math at Carmel High School until 2004 when he moved to Homestead High School (Southwest Allen County Schools) in the same capacity. In 2006, he took his Master of Arts in education administration at Ball State University and began working as assistant principal for curriculum at Huntington North High School, moving to Carroll Middle School (Northwest Allen County Schools) from 2007-2010, and then to Summit Middle School (NACS) from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, Joshua received his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Purdue and was named principal of Summit Middle School (Southwest Allen County Schools). Since 2015, he has additionally served as an adjunct instructor in the College of Education at Purdue University. Joshua takes pride in the launching of a PBIS program during his first year as principal, the implementation of a blended learning model with one-to-one computing and personalized instruction, and the transition to an eight period modified block insuring all students a computer curriculum. His superintendent observes, Josh’s “calm demeanor and dedication to the individuality of each student and their families have resulted in Summit’s reputation as an inclusive, safe place to learn and grow.”
Scott Van Der Aa – District 4
Scott Van Der Aa received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish education from Cedarville University in 2002. That fall he began his teaching career in Ohio where he also coached wrestling and baseball. In 2003, he taught and coached at Twin Lakes High School and then in 2005 at Harrison High School (Tippecanoe School Corporation). In 2006, he took his Master of Science degree in educational administration through Walden University. After serving one year as assistant principal at North White Middle-High School, Scott became principal there in 2018. Of special pride to Scott is his enhancement of the ENL program and the involvement of parents of students in that program. In addition, he has expanded the possibilities of earning high school credits in middle school. His students enjoy his use of competitions to teach school history, expand student appreciation of staff, and his interaction with them in fun events. His superintendent says Scott “has established himself as a great leader and visionary for not only our middle school but also the entire North White School Corporation.”
Crystal Murff Thorpe – District 5
After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in secondary English education, Crystal Murff Thorpe began her career teaching at Ben Davis High School in 1992. In 1996, she received her Master of Science degree in secondary supervision and administration. Then in 2000, she took on the role of assistant principal at Southport Middle School (MSD Perry Township in Marion County), moving to Fulton Junior High School/Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center in the same role in 2001. Then, in 2007, she became principal of Fishers Junior High School (Hamilton Southeastern Schools), going on to earn her Ph.D. in education administration in 2019. Crystal takes pride in the renewal of purpose for math instruction which led to the school’s participation in a documentary on the subject directed by Vicki Abeles. She also sings the praises of her students’ involvement in the Day of Service implemented in 2018 as well as their successes in the We the People competition in which they have won four national championships. Her superintendent says, “Dr. Thorpe presents as a civic role model.”
Kathryn Lash – District 6
In 2013, Kathryn Lash received her Bachelor of Art degree in elementary education (early childhood generalist) from Manchester University before beginning her career in North Carolina teaching fourth grade in the spring. Then, in the fall, she moved to Winchester Community High School to teach special education. In 2014, she took her Master of Science degree in education at Indiana University. Earning her administrator’s license at Ball State University in 2014, Kathryn became associate principal of Driver Middle School (Randolph Central School Corporation) in 2016 and now serves as that school’s principal. Having earned her Ed.S. in educational leadership in 2019 at Ball State, she is currently pursuing an Ed.D. there as well. As Kathryn worked to normalize faculty, students, and programs when her middle school moved to a campus shared with the high school, her efforts included introducing PBIS, enlisting the assistance of the local Department of Child Services, creating a “regulation room” to support student needs, and emphasizing college and career readiness skills. The director of special education in her district notes, Kathryn “continues to gain the respect and trust of families, while assisting them with the child’s needs.”
Rick Rosebrough – District 7
A graduate of Hanover College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980, Rick Rosebrough taught and coached at Tri-West Junior/Senior High School until 1990. In 1986, he received his Master of Arts in teaching from DePauw University and, in 2001 his Master of Science in secondary administration and supervision from Indiana University. Rick taught at Decatur Middle School (MSD of Decatur Township in Marion County) from 1990 to 2001 when he became assistant principal at that school, the same year he received his Master of Science degree in secondary administration and supervision from IU. From 2003 until 2016, Rick served as assistant principal at Speedway Junior High School and became principal there in 2017. During his three years as principal there, his school has earned an A rating. He is particularly proud of perfect attendance rewards he has initiated, as well as the VIP (Very Impressive Plug) Program of rewarding student behaviors. Rick regards building relationships and hiring strong people and then empowering them to use their skills, always valuing their time. He believes in setting simple expectations and explaining them so that students understand them. Finally, he trusts in being visible and giving credit where it is due. His assistant superintendent characterizes Rick as, “calm, reassuring, and steadfast.”
Sarah Gore – District 8
At Indiana State University, Sarah Gore earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 2002 and a Master of Education degree in school administration and supervision in 2008. She is currently pursuing a PH.D. in education administration at ISU as well. After teaching for ten years at Chauncey Rose Middle School and one year at Otter Creek Middle School (both part of Vigo County School Corporation), she became the principal of Otter Creek in 2014. Sarah is proud of the partnership her school has forged with the local Chamber of Commerce through which she has created and implemented a Work Force Development Mentoring Group that partners students with role models. She uses the yearly parent open house where community partners set up informational tables as a means to help and support students and their families. Aspire Higher, which promotes reaching behavioral goals through building relationships, and service learning play key roles in her school. Sarah says, “We are never satisfied with the status quo at Otter Creek, and I strive to set high expectations for myself and everyone around me.”
Edwina McGowen – District 9
Edwina McGowen received her Bachelor of Science in education from Indiana University in 1995. In 1997, she taught special education at Paul Hadley Middle School (Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation), became assistant principal there in 2014 and principal in 2017. During her tenure, she also took her Master of Science degree in education at Purdue University Hammond in 2012 and her Ed.S. at Indiana State University in August of this year. As of July 1, 2020, she became director of special education in that district. Edwina counts among her proudest achievements the initiation of a home room structure designed to offer character development lessons, monthly grade level team meetings to recognize students for the accomplishments, and a mentoring program that invites community members into the school to develop relationships with students. The president of the Community Foundation of Morgan County writes of Edwina that she has “foresight and tireless personal integrity.”
Ryan Mikus – District 10
After taking his Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Indiana University in 2001, Ryan Mikus commenced his career at Frederick Douglass Middle School (Indianapolis Public Schools) teaching sixth and seventh grade science, moving to Eastwood Middle School (MSD of Washington Township in Marion County) from 2002 to 2007. In 2007 he received his Master of Science degree in educational leadership from IUPUI and became assistant principal at Coulston Elementary School (Shelbyville Central Schools). Taking on the role of principal at Shelbyville Middle School in 2011, Ryan earned his Ed.S. from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2019. In 2012, he led his school to A four-year run of A ratings after four years of C ratings, and in the 2013-2014 school year the school was recognized as a Four Star School by the INDOE. He takes pride in the SUCCESS classes in which instructors both re-teach skills not mastered and pre-teach upcoming material. In addition, CORE+ classes meet twice a week for thirty minutes both to address the need for further intervention and to offer the opportunity for enrichment in many areas. His superintendent writes, “Ryan’s pursuit for excellence extends beyond just meeting the academic needs of students to creating a school experience that addresses the whole child.”
Ryan Case – District 11
Ryan Case earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University and his master’s degree in administration through Oakland City University. For twenty-one years he has served Dubois Middle School where he has been the principal for the past eight years. Every two years, Ryan leads a group of seventh and eighth grade students to Washington, D.C. He has participated in Focus on Inclusion and the National Association for Gifted Children Conference. In addition he is an ALICE (active school shooter training) school safety trainer. In his district, he has helped lead the restructure of school buildings throughout the corporation.
Keith Bush – District 12
Keith Bush holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, a Master of Science degree in educational leadership, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership. The title of his dissertation is “Measuring School Accountability: Perceptions from Teachers, Principals, and Superintendents.” For six years he worked as a classroom teacher. After serving as assistant principal and athletic director at Tri-North Middle School (Monroe County Community School Corporation). For the past nine years he has been the principal at Nathaniel Scribner Middle School (New Albany-Floyd County School Corporation). Keith has been involved with Patrick Lencioni’s Table Group and has served on the New Albany-Floyd County Schools Corporation’s strategic planning committee for alternative education. He was the keynote speaker for the Ivy Tech Student Association in 2016, 2017, and 2018.