Gaelyn Mlynarcik – District 1

Before taking on the responsibilities of athletic director and assistant principal at Morgan Township Middle/High School in Valparaiso in 2015, Gaelyn Mlynarcik taught social studies and language arts, starting in 2007, at Fegely Middle School and then Willowcreek Middle School in the Porter County School Corporation. After taking her Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education in 2008, she earned her Master of Science degree in educational leadership in 2013, both at Purdue University Calumet. Nominated for the Influential Professional Women of Northwest Indiana Award in 2017, Gaelyn has served the Porter County Conference Sportsmanship Banquet as a planner and fundraiser. She also serves as her school’s safety specialist. Presenting skills she no doubt relied on this year, she presented and coordinated the Summer of eLearning from 2016 to 2019. Over the past five years she has revived and reinvigorated the Student-Athlete Leadership Council and had developed a middle school PBIS program to be implemented this year. Gaelyn regards her work as integral to the efforts of the entire administrative team that empowers teacher leaders to “help process communication” and gain a clear picture of the overall culture of the school. Her corporation’s technology director calls her “a pillar of innovation in our district, specifically with our blended learning initiative.”

Troy Kauffman – District 2

Troy Kauffman took his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at Goshen College in 1993. In 2003, he earned his Master of Science degree in secondary education at Indiana University South Bend, and in 2008 earned his school administration licensure through Bethel College. After teaching choir and drama in grades 9-12 and serving as AP Coordinator from 1996 to 1998, Troy moved to Penn High School where he served as choir director and AP Music Theory teacher until 2008 when he began a two-year tenure as the Freshman Academy dean. In 2010, he began his current role as assistant principal at Discovery Middle School. Writing about the PBIS program at Discovery, he notes their AIM High theme and his role as the superhero “Make a Difference Man,” a role he accepted with some trepidation but now embraces as a positive influence on student behavior. In fact, he has experienced his role as assistant principal evolve from disciplinarian to “Positive Behavior Specialist” as his work in crisis prevention, suicide prevention, and SEL lessons and ACE training attest. In addition to his professional duties, Troy has served as Director of Music at Belmont Church since 1998, also serving on the South Bend Museum of Art Board of Trustees since 2017. One of his colleagues writes of Troy, “He is considerate, always fair, sees things from all sides, works hard, and above all else – he does everything with Discovery kids in mind.”

Adam McAfee – District 3

An assistant principal at Lancaster Central Elementary in Bluffton, Adam McAfee taught at that school from 2001-2010 and served as Director of Education at Gateway Woods School, a residential treatment facility, from 2010-2017 before returning to Lancaster as assistant principal. He earned both his Bachelor of Science in education and his Master of Science in education at Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Regarding his proudest achievement, Adam talks about his one-on-one work with a student given to emotional outbursts but with whom Adam developed a bond that included a daily morning walk that culminated in a pep-talk. He has also striven to better equip teachers in the working of the RtI system and to build cooperative interpretation of and response to test data. As the school’s safety specialist, he encourages those on his team to prepare for the unexpected. Adam’s principal characterizes him as a servant leader and says of him, “He recognizes the importance of collaborating with staff members, collecting and valuing student input, and listening to parent concerns and working towards a solution.”

Jonathan Guthrie – District 4

A graduate in 2008 of Purdue with bachelor degrees in chemistry, chemistry education, and biology education, Jonathan Guthrie took his Master of Science in education administration at Butler in 2018. Beginning his career teaching chemistry and biology at North Montgomery High School (Crawfordsville) in 2007, he became assistant principal there in 2014. Outside of school, Jonathan sits on the board of the Drug Free Montgomery County Coalition and has served as vice-president of Volunteers for Mental Health of Montgomery County since 2015. An accomplished presenter on diverse education topics, his proudest achievement is the work he continues to do in implementing applied educational neuroscience into the practice and curriculum of his high school. In response to three student suicides, he and two others took a certification course in Applied Education Neuroscience at Butler. Jonathan asserts that his role in the high school is “to work in conjunction with our students and teachers to create a learning environment where all students are in a calm state of alertness, ready to access their prefrontal cortex for learning, complex thinking, and planning.” His superintendent writes of him, “Mr. Guthrie is the master of conflict resolution and human relations.”

Joseph Bowman – District 5

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Butler University, Joseph Bowman took his Master of Science degree in educational leadership there as well, later going on to qualify for a certificate in Applied Educational Neuroscience as well. After working in the classroom for six years, Joseph became the assistant principal at Frankton Elementary School, a school in the Frankton-Lapel Community Schools system, where he has served for five years. Having presented on the topic of educational neuroscience on numerous occasions, Joseph travels as a collaborator with Revelations in Education, a part of Dr. Lori Desaultel’s work with Applied Educational Neuroscience. As a result of implementing that approach in his own school, office referrals decreased by 70% in one year. Joseph is now principal at Lapel Elementary School.

Laura Brazil – District 6

A graduate of Xavier University (Cincinnati) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and secondary education in 2001 and of Georgia State University where she earned a Master of Science in educational leadership in 2008, Laura Brazil is the assistant principal at Richmond High School. After beginning her career as a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in San Antonio, Texas, Laura also taught at Woodward High School (Cincinnati) and North Atlanta High School where she was named Teacher of the Year in 2007. She has participated in numerous professional development activities, ranging from AP Language to standards-based grading to helping struggling readers. Particularly proud of her work with the English Department over the past year, her efforts have resulted in students reading more, writing more broadly, and developing critical thinking skills. Laura writes of herself, “I am about to start my twentieth year in education, and I’m still asking myself if we could do things differently to get students to learn more, whether that is better feedback I should be giving teachers or a better structure of the school schedule.” Her principal says, “Laura’s energy and task-oriented mindset is non-stop, and she is always willing to take on any challenge to help improve our school.”

James Claybourn – District 7

Before becoming assistant principal at Speedway High School in 2017, James Claybourn served in the same role at Stonybrook Middle School (Warren Township in Marion County) and as a teacher and coach at Decatur Central High School (Decatur Township in Marion County). He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Wabash College in 2002, his Master of Arts in Teaching at Earlham College, and his building level administrative licensure at Marian University in 2014. James expects to complete his Ph.D. at Indiana State University next year. He values the Breaking Ranks framework and points to the Study Tables system that he manages with a team of two teachers in tandem with customized communication with parents from whom he has much support. As a result of this framework, his school has improved dramatically in every performance metric and has been identified among the Most Challenging Public High Schools in Indiana according to the Jay Mathews Challenge Index. James’s superintendent writes, “When problems arise, he is quick to say, ‘How can I help?’

Matthew Hines – District 8

Matthew Hines took a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics education at Purdue University in 2005 and a Master of Science degree in educational administration at Ball State University in 2010. Having begun his career as a math teacher at Western Boone Junior/Senior High School, Matthew first served as an assistant principal at Western Middle School from 2011 to 2014, then at Frankfort High School from 2014 to 2018 before taking up that role at Avon High School where he now works. As an administrator his focus has been on mentoring students as well as principal candidates and on building collaborative teams among the faculty. To build a positive culture among staff, he appointed a “Chief Fun Officer” and worked collaboratively to create enjoyable experiences for teachers and staff members each month. In addition, Matthew is a DECA Professional Member who judges at local, district, and state competitions. His principal writes of Matthew, “He is a man of ideas and action with a laser focus on creating a school culture that inspires students and staff to be the best they can be.”

Loriann Wessel – District 9

After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education, Loriann Wessel began her career teaching social studies in Salem Community Schools from 2007 to 2015. Having earned her Master of Arts degree in educational leadership at Ball State University in 2012, she went on to serve as assistant principal at Seymour Middle School from 2015 to 2020 where she is now the principal. In 2016, she implemented a school-wide PBIS system and successfully strived to create a common culture of behavior expectations. She also developed a culture of professional development that draws significantly on the expertise of the teachers themselves. Her assistant superintendent writes, “Both as an educator and an administrator, Loriann Wessel consistently demonstrates the ability and personality to successfully collaborate with a variety of stakeholders with the goal of improving our students, our staff, our schools, and our community.”

Jamie Rosfeld – District 10

Jamie Rosfeld earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University and her Master of Education degree from Indiana State University. She has been the assistant principal at East Central High School in St. Leon for the past nine years. Prior to that time, she served as a classroom teacher for eleven years. As assistant principal, she serves as the school test coordinator, manages and applies for SAT/ACT accommodations, oversees dual credit programs and partnerships, and is a member of the Sunman-Dearborn Community School’s Guiding Coalition Committee. Jamie attributes her success as a leader to persistence, organization and an ability to communicate.

Kris Warner – District 11

With the help of teachers, counselors, a coach, and a friend’s parents, Kris Warner became the first person in his family to attend college. Because of his experience volunteering to help such students when he was himself in school, he earned his bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Evansville in 2002, and his master’s degree is in education administration through Oakland City University in 2006. His master’s thesis was published in book form under the title “Music and the Effects It Has on Learning.” From 2002 to 2005, Kris taught life skills at Boonville Middle School, working with students with severe and profound disabilities, and he taught special education at Tecumseh High School, during which time he was named the 2007 Walmart Teacher of the Year. After an interval as the principal of Evansville Christian School from 2007 to 2011, he became a father and decided to return to the classroom where he helped start the Revive Program for special needs students who have been expelled from school. Now, as the assistant principal serving both Newburgh Elementary School and Sharon Elementary School, he has provided training in Google Suite and, before the pandemic, was working to implement an SEL initiative. Described as “a tireless worker” by his principal, Kris says of himself, “My heart smiles because I am achieving my dream, to make a lasting difference in the lives of my students for years to come.”

Ryan Apple – District 12

Assistant principal at New Albany High School, Ryan Apple graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2004, followed by a Master of Science degree in 2012 and a Master of Education degree in 2013, both from ISU. In 2018, he received a doctorate in education through the University of the Cumberlands. He began his teaching career at Silver Creek Middle School (West Clark Community Schools) in 2004, moving to Henryville Junior/Senior High School in 2008. In 2013, he became director of West Clark Education Center (alternative school), and in 2015 started his current job as assistant principal. Among his proudest accomplishments, Ryan counts partnerships with UPS to provide work/college opportunities for students and with Our Place Drug and Alcohol Counseling for presentations and programs. In addition, he has a keen interest in alternative education at his high school. The social studies chair of his school observes Ryan’s relationship with students, commenting, “The kids know, the kids believe, that he will hold them accountable and to a higher standard because he cares about them.” Ryan is now at Lanesville Jr./Sr. High School

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