David Harris, who started The Mind Trust, the Indianapolis education nonprofit that has helped transform the city’s public education landscape in the last decade, plans to step down next month.
Harris said in an announcement Thursday that he was leaving as The Mind Trust’s CEO to become the founding partner of a new and yet-to-be-launched national education organization. He will remain in Indianapolis.
The Mind Trust has been a key player in the city’s move to become a “portfolio district” with a robust mix of charter and traditional district schools. In 2011, the group issued a report that called for a drastic overhaul of the city’s school system. The organization also recruited Teach For America and TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) to Indianapolis.
The Mind Trust was a supporter of a 2014 state law that allowed Indianapolis to create “Innovation Network Schools"—schools that were freed from some of the restrictions on traditional public schools, including giving those schools full operational autonomy While the Innovation Network Schools remain part of the Indianapolis district, their teachers are not covered by the district’s collective bargaining agreement.
In conjunction with the city and the school district, The Mind Trust launched the Innovation Network Fellowship to help school leaders refine their designs for new schools or to restart struggling ones. The group has helped to support 17 such schools.
In 2017, 23 percent of schools in Indianapolis were Innovation Network Schools, according to the district.
The organization also has similar fellowships for charter school leaders and individuals who are interested in starting education nonprofits.
Harris will be replaced by Brandon Brown, who now serves as The Mind Trust’s senior vice president for education innovation. Brown worked for former mayor Greg Ballard as the director of the city’s charter schools before he joined The Mind Trust.
Photo caption: David Harris, the founder and CEO of the Indianapolis-based The Mind Trust. Photo courtesy of The Mind Trust.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.