Since former IPS superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee announced his departure to lead D.C. Public Schools as chancellor, the community has been wondering how the district will move forward. Aleesia Johnson, former deputy superintendent and innovation officer, is currently leading the district as interim superintendent. On Friday, June 15, she was one of three candidates named as a finalist to lead the district.
IPS is a district serving around 30,000 students where 44% of students are black. Many community stakeholders suggested the need for candidates selected to be diverse due to the diverse student population. All named finalists are black. The other candidates are Larry Young, assistant superintendent of the MSD of Pike Township and Devon Horton, chief of schools of Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky.
It was no surprise that Johnson was a finalist. She has been a front runner although IPS School Board Commissioners have asserted the final decision has not been made yet. Community groups such as the IPS Community Coalition, who have been outspoken against many IPS decisions, even went as far as to post Johnson’s teaching license (a public document searchable on the IDOE’s website) and KIPP’s school discipline during her tenure as principal to discourage support for her as future superintendent.
Not much has been said yet about the other candidates, but a few educators expressed to Indy K12 they are concerned that Horton might be another Ferebee and would use IPS as a temporary place of employment on his way to an even bigger school district if he was selected as superintendent.
On Tuesday, June 18, public interviews will take place at 5 PM at the John Morton-Finney Center for Educational Services at 120 E. Walnut Street for community members to learn more about all of the candidates. The school board is accepting questions for the candidates until Monday, June 17 at noon.