In honor of Women’s History Month, Indianapolis Public Schools is paying tribute to female leaders making an impact throughout the district.

These hardworking, dedicated and innovative women work in various departments within IPS, from benefits to special education. They also are part of the impressive percentage of female employees at IPS, both in and outside of the classroom.

At IPS:

  • Women make up 69 percent of our workforce.
  • 53 percent of women work in certified positions.
  • 46 percent of women work in classified positions.
  • 63 percent of district leaders are women.
  • 50 percent of district senior leadership roles are held by women.

The 2019 IPS Women Leader Honorees

 

Donna Dinorcia-Rieg, Director of Benefits

Nominated by Mindy Schlegel, Human Resources Officer

Donna coordinates health insurance benefits for more than 3,000 IPS employees and their dependents. She also launched the district’s first wellness strategy in an effort to reduce medical claims and increase the overall health of our team.

Donna joined teamIPS in November 1989.

Why Donna Loves Being a Female Leader in IPS

“I value the opportunities IPS has provided me over the years to grow professionally and personally, and the gratification that comes from seeing our hard work positively impact the lives of those who serve our school community.”

 

Tonia Guynn, IPS Police Captain

Nominated by Steven Garner, IPS Police Chief

Tonia provides leadership and guidance for employees of the IPS Police Department, whom she has served in a variety of management positions since 1994. She championed the practice of IPS Police officers utilizing restorative justice family conferencing as an alternative to incarcerating students.

Tonia joined teamIPS in September 1989.

Why Tonia Loves Being a Female Leader in IPS

“My favorite thing about being a female leader in IPS is I have the ability to mentor and protect students. I have had the awesome experience of forming relationships with students, who after graduating have reached out to tell me how much they appreciated my taking the time to talk and guide them in the right direction. Being a female gives me the extra perk of relating to female students who have an interest in the area of law enforcement. … My current position as captain inspires me to encourage my officers to remain steadfast on their personal path of reaching their goals.”

 

Bridgette Robinson, Director of Federal & Special Programs

Nominated by Weston Young, Chief Financial Manager

Bridgette oversees IPS Federal & Special Programs, which support students in poverty, both in public and non-public school settings within the IPS district boundaries. She also oversees $30 million in Title 1 funds annually.

Bridgette joined teamIPS in November 2006.

Why Bridgette Loves Being a Female Leader in IPS

“The most exciting part of my role is that I work behind the scenes with creative autonomy, which positively affects our sole purpose of serving those of most importance: our students. … Being a female leader in IPS is fulfilling. It means working out of integrity, vastly sharing knowledge, and gaining wisdom on a daily basis. My role provides me with the opportunity to cultivate change with the positive hopes of being a sprinkle of joy and aspiration to those around me. … I believe that when a tree is planted properly, you can endure the storms.”

 

Angelia Finley, Expanded Impact Teacher, George S. Buck School 94

Nominated by Starr Hairston, Director of Opportunity Culture

Angelia is committed to teaching, leading and inspiring academic and cultural excellence in IPS. An expanded impact teacher and a member of the Instructional Leadership Team at George S. Buck, Angelia provides an equitable, student-centered and challenging learning environment that supports the academic, behavioral and cultural development of her students.

Angelia fosters 21st century skills of collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking and STEM literacy. Her passion for children inspires culturally responsive teaching practices and a deeper knowledge of the educational neuroscience research that drives teaching and student learning outcomes.

Angelia joined teamIPS in February 2017.

Why Angelia Loves Being a Female Leader in IPS

“My favorite thing about being a female leader in IPS is being able to nurture and cultivate young minds. Teaching special education and English as a Second Language (ESL) to students is my passion. I love being creative with children and tailoring my lesson to reach each individual student. … Collaborating with other teachers to develop a product that meets the needs of our students is my priority. I also love being a partner with our families to support the growth of their children. … Shaping young minds and inspiring creativity is a position that I cherish and hold dear.”

 

Linda Hubbard, Special Education Learning Community Director

Nominated by Brent Freeman, Special Education Officer

Linda came to IPS with extensive teaching and leading experience from Chicago Public Schools. While in IPS, she has been a highly effective special education teacher, a special education specialist, and now serves as Special Education Learning Community Director supporting Transformation Zone schools. Linda is well-respected because she leads by example, cares deeply about her colleagues and students, and has a drive for improving student outcomes.

Linda joined teamIPS in August 1998.

Why Linda Loves Being a Female Leader in IPS

“Working in IPS, within a supportive climate that cultivates aspiring women, has greatly enhanced my evolution as a female leader from building to district level of service.”

 

Sarah Hutchison, English as a Second Language (ESL) Coach

Nominated by Jessica Dunn, English as a New Language Director

Sarah supports IPS staff in ensuring they are equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to support our fast-growing population of students who are acquiring English as a new language.

Sarah joined teamIPS in August 2008.

Why Sarah Loves Being a Female Leader in IPS

“My favorite thing about being a female leader in IPS is collaborating with other female leaders! There are so many wonderful women educators doing this work, and it is a joy to build and share knowledge beside them to benefit students and families.”

 

Stacy Coleman, Principal, Henry W. Longfellow Medical/STEM Middle School 28

Nominated by Lela Simmons, Director of Secondary Learning

Stacy is an amazing leader! While some of her notable accomplishments include dramatic increases in test scores and strong community partnerships, first and foremost Stacy cares tremendously for her students and will stop at nothing to ensure their needs are met, and that they get the best education.

Stacey joined teamIPS in July 2014.

Why Stacy Loves Being a Female Leader in IPS

“My favorite thing about being a leader in IPS is being able to work with such a diverse and wonderful population of students. My students come from so many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and bring their experiences into school.  As a result, as much as they are learning, I am able to learn from them as well.”

 

Dena Bond, Food Service Director

Nominated by Scott Martin, Deputy Superintendent for Operations

Dena leads a team of more than 200 employees, serving 13,000 breakfasts and 25,000 lunches to students each school day. She manages a $22 million operating budget. In her role, Dena has conducted complete menu overhauls featuring new menu items and an increase in food options and food quality.

To ensure that IPS students receive healthy and nutritious meals outside of the normal school day, Dena led the renovation of a school bus into the Bus Stop Café, the district’s mobile kitchen used for school break feedings and school lunch festivities. She also expanded community meal service sites during the fall, winter, spring and summer breaks.

Dena joined teamIPS in March 2003.

Why Dena Loves Being a Female Leader in IPS

“I’m honored to lead a team comprised of 90 percent women, and enjoy the collaboration and commitment they display each day to nourish our students.”

 

Dr. Patricia Payne, Director, Racial Equity Office

Nominated by Andrew Strope, Performance and Continuous Improvement Officer

During her 56-year career with IPS, Patricia “Pat” Payne taught second grade within the district for more than 20 years before becoming the director of the Crispus Attucks Center, which comprised the Office of Multicultural Education and the Crispus Attucks Museum.

Today, Pat directs the IPS Racial Equity Initiative, working to eliminate racial disproportionality and disparity among students of color.

Pat joined teamIPS in August 1962. She was also an IPS student from kindergarten through Grade 12.

Why Pat Loves Being a Female Leader in IPS

“I feel blessed and honored, particularly as a black woman, to be able to represent all the strong women who have gone before me as well as those who stand beside me — those who know that we are fighting to save the souls, spirits and minds of our children, especially black children. … I’ve been blessed to receive many plaques, certificates and recognitions, but THIS one means more than all others.”