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Indiana State Board of Education

Indiana State Board of Education

SBOE > About the Board > Board Members Board Members

Member Representing
 Superintendent Glenda Ritz Chair: Superintendent
of Public Instruction
 Eddie Melton 1st District:
Governor's Appointee
 Dr. David Freitas 2nd District:
Governor's Appointee
 Cari Whicker 3rd District:
Governor's Appointee
 Sarah O'Brien 4th District:
Governor's Appointee
 Dr. Vince Bertram 5th District:
Governor's Appointee
 Gordon Hendry 7th District:
Governor's Appointee
 B.J. Watts 8th District::
Governor's Appointee
 Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski 9th District:
Governor's Appointee
 Dr. Steve Yager Senate President Pro Tem
David Long Appointee
 Dr. Byron Ernest Indiana House Speaker
Brian Bosma Appointee

Dr. Vince Bertram

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Dr. Vince Bertram brings a national reputation of preparing students in STEM education to the Indiana State Board of Education. Dr. Bertram currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a non-profit organization headquartered in Indianapolis that provides science, technology, engineering and math programs nationwide. He has also served as superintendent of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, Indiana’s third-largest urban school district, and was appointed in 2014 by the U.S. Department of State to serve as the STEM education expert for the United States Speaker and Specialist Program. Dr. Bertram became a New York Times bestselling author in November 2014 with the release of his book, One Nation Under-Taught: Solving America’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Crisis. He received his undergraduate, master’s, specialist, and doctorate degrees from Ball State University, a master’s degree in education policy and management from Harvard University, and an executive certificate in strategy and innovation from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Dr. Bertram was appointed on June 1, 2015 by Governor Mike Pence to the Indiana State Board of Education representing the Fifth Congressional District.

Follow Dr. Bertram on Twitter: @vincebertram 

Dr. Byron Ernest

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Dr. Byron Ernest is a former (2010) Indiana “Teacher of the Year” and currently serves as Head of Schools for Hoosier Academies in Indiana. Previously, Dr. Ernest served as principal at Emmerich Manual High School in Indianapolis after it was taken over by the State for receiving seven consecutive failing annual performance grades. As principal, Dr. Ernest developed a new staff and culture of excellence focusing on high student achievement and performance. The State removed Manual off the “F” list under Dr. Ernest’s leadership and still holds the distinction of being the only takeover school in Indiana to be removed from the failing category. Prior to going to Manual, Dr. Ernest worked as the Department Head for Agriculture and FFA at Lebanon Community School Corporation. Dr. Ernest holds Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Agricultural Education and a Master’s in Education from Purdue University. He received his Doctorate from Walden University in Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning. Currently, Dr. Ernest is completing Post-Doctoral Professional Programs in Leadership at Harvard University. He was appointed to the Indiana State Board of Education on June 1, 2015 by House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis).

Follow Dr. Ernest on Twitter: @ByronErnest

Dr. David Freitas

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Dr. David Freitas was appointed to the SBOE in June 2013 by Governor Mike Pence to represent the Second Congressional District. Freitas earned an Ed.D. and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Boston University; B.M.Ed. from Boston Conservatory of Music and has also completed post-doctoral work at Harvard University Law School. Dr. Freitas has served higher education for more than 30 years including roles as University Vice Provost, Dean of Education at four universities, and Dean of the Schools of Business, Fine Arts, and Technology. In his 25 years as a Tenured Full Professor of Educational Leadership, he has prepared and mentored more than 1000 school principals, superintendents, and other educational leaders. Dr. Freitas has held professional licensure for K-12 teaching, elementary principal, secondary principal and superintendent, and served as a member of the State of Illinois Teacher Certification Board; as an elected city school board member in Massachusetts; consultant to the U.S. Department of Education; President of Illinois Association of Teacher Education; and President of Commonwealth of Massachusetts Teacher Education Consortium. He has been an invited speaker on a variety of education topics in virtually every large city in the U.S. as well as ten countries throughout the world.

Gordon Hendry

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Gordon Hendry is the Midwest regional leader of CBRE's Public Institutions and Education Solutions Group, where he provides real estate advisory services to state and local governments and educational institutions. Prior to joining CBRE, Hendry led the Indy Partnership, a 10-county regional economic development organization based in Indianapolis, where his efforts culminated in Medco Health Solution’s announcement in December 2007 to invest over $190 million and create over 1,300 new jobs in the region. The Indy Partnership was named as one of the top 10 economic development groups in the country by Site Selection magazine during his tenure. Prior to his appointment to the Indy Partnership, Hendry served as a top adviser to Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson where he spent almost three years as the City’s Director of Economic Development. Before joining the Mayor’s Office, he was a corporate attorney for Ice Miller, one of Indiana’s largest law firms.

Hendry received a JD from The George Washington University Law School and a BA, with Distinction, in Economics and Political Science from Indiana University, Bloomington (Phi Beta Kappa). He also attended the London School of Economics. In addition to the Indiana State Board of Education as an at-large appointee, he serves on the board of directors of La Plaza, a Central Indiana organization with the mission of preparing Latino students for educational success and connecting Latino families to health and social services, and the Indiana University Hutton Honors College Alumni Association. His prior appointments include serving on the board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Indiana. He is a member of the Indiana Bar and holds an Indiana Real Estate Broker’s license. In 2013, Governor Pence appointed Gordon to the Indiana State Board of Education as the sole at-large member, and he was subsequently reappointed representing the Seventh Congressional District in May, 2015 to a two-year term through June 30, 2017.

Hendry and his wife live in downtown Indianapolis with their two young children, the oldest of whom attends the Indianapolis Public Schools.

Follow Mr. Hendry on Twitter: @GordonHendry 

Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski

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Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski brings a wealth of public education experience to the Indiana State Board of Education. Kwiatowski currently serves as Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement M.S.D. of Warren Township in Indianapolis. She started her career at Indianapolis Public Schools and held a variety of positions at the Indiana Department of Education, including Director of School Turnaround, Director of Differentiated Learning, and Director of the Title I program. She received her undergraduate degree from Indiana State University, her master’s degrees in elementary education and educational administration from Indiana University, and her educational specialist degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. She received her doctorate degree in education from Oakland City University. Kwiatkowski was appointed by Governor Mike Pence to the Indiana State Board of Education on June 1, 2015 representing the Ninth Congressional District.

Eddie Melton

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Eddie Melton, of Merrillville, brings a strong business and mentoring background to the Indiana State Board of Education. Melton works as Manager of Federal Governmental Relations and Community Relations at Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO). He also serves on the Commission on the Social Status of Black Males and as Midwest Regional Director on the American Association of Blacks in Energy. He received the “20 Under 40” Young Professionals Award from The NWI Times Media Company in 2011, and received his bachelor’s degree from Calumet College of St. Joseph.  Melton was appointed by Governor Mike Pence on June 1, 2015 to the Indiana State Board of Education representing the First Congressional District.


Sarah O'Brien

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Sarah O’Brien is a fourth-grade teacher at River Birch Elementary School in Avon. She received both her BS in Elementary Education and her MS in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education from Indiana University, Bloomington. She was appointed to the SBOE by Gov. Daniels to represent the fourth congressional district in 2009. She has served as co-chair of the River Birch Reading Leadership Team and represented River Birch as a TELL (The Educator Learning Link) Ambassador. Previously, while teaching first and second grade at White Oak Elementary School, Avon, O’Brien created a First Grade ‘Reading Café’ program to celebrate family literacy, through an Avon Education Foundation Grant. She has also served on the Professional Development Committee (co-chair), Data and Assessment Committee, Science/Health and Math Textbook Adoption Committee, White Oak Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Team, Student Assessment Subcommittee, and organized the pilot year of a parent involvement program utilizing members of her school community to mentor and provide one-on-one support for struggling students. O’Brien was named Teacher of the Year at River Birch Elementary in 2010 – 2011 and 2013-2014, as well as Teacher of the Year at White Oak Elementary in 2004 – 2005. She was appointed by Governor Daniels and reappointed by Governor Pence on June 1, 2015 to the SBOE to represent the Fourth Congressional District.

Follow Mrs. O'Brien on Twitter: @sobrien611

Superintendent Glenda Ritz

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Glenda Ritz has been an educator since 1978, and until her election in 2012 as the Superintendent of Public Instruction, she served as a Library Media Specialist at Crooked Creek Elementary School in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is one of 168 National Board Certified Teachers in Indiana, and she holds two masters degrees with licenses to teach elementary, middle and high school in the areas of special education, general education, and library science.

Glenda Ritz was elected the 43rd Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2012. Superintendent Ritz leads the Indiana Department of Education with over 230 dedicated professionals serving our schools and communities in all 92 counties. The department distributes over $8 billion dollars each year of state and federal funds to educate approximately one million students in more than 2000 schools. Superintendent Ritz is dedicated to working with educators, families, policy makers, business leaders, and community-based organizations to achieve the Department of Education’s mission of building an education system of equity and high quality that is focused on student-centered accountability. .

Follow Superintendent Ritz on Twitter: @EducateIN

B.J. Watts

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B. J. Watts is a 6th Grade Social Studies and Science Teacher at Vogel Elementary in Evansville. Originally from Scottsburg, he is a graduate of the University of Southern Indiana where he was a member of the basketball team, and received his M.Ed. from Indiana Wesleyan University. Watts is a member of the Evansville Teachers Association (ETA), Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), and a member of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Governmental Affairs Committee. He currently serves as the Assistant Girls Track Coach at Evansville F. J. Reitz High School, and is a former member of both the Mayor’s Education Round Table (2004-2010) and the Evansville City Council from 2001-2012, including five and a half years as council president. Watts is also an Evansville business owner, and a Licensed Insurance Broker with Freeman, Will & Niemeier, Inc. He was appointed to the SBOE by Gov. Mike Pence in June 2013 to represent Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District.

Cari Whicker

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Cari Whicker is a 6th grade teacher of language arts and social studies at Riverview Middle School in Huntington. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Elementary Education and received her M.Ed. from Western Governors University in 2013 in Learning and Technology. Whicker is currently a member of Indiana State Reading Association (ISRA), International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Indiana State Teachers Association and is a Gurian Certified (Single-Gender) Trainer/Pilot Teacher. She previously served six years as a board member for the Teacher Retirement Fund Board of Trustees/PERF/INPRS, and has been active in a number of local and state-level efforts including ISTEP Sensitivity and Bias Review Committee, State Textbook Adoption Review Committee, and HCCSC Acuity Assessment /LA Quarterly Assessment Committees. Whicker was named Riverview Middle School Teacher of the Year in 2013 and 2006, and is the recipient of more than $15,000 in school grant awards including IMAX Lilly Grant/Scholarship, CF Industries Grant, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant, and Ecolab Grants. Whicker was appointed by Governor Daniels in April 2012 and reappointed by Governor Pence on June 1, 2015 to represent the Third Congressional District.

Follow Mrs. Whicker on Twitter: @CariWhicker

Dr. Steve Yager

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Dr. Steve Yager offers to the State Board decades of education experience, including service as a superintendent at both Northwest Allen County Schools (1990-2009) and Southwest Allen County Schools (2009-2014). In addition to his experience as a superintendent, Dr. Yager recently co-chaired the Accountability System Review Panel - a special committee charged by the Indiana General Assembly to redesign the formula for the A-F grades given to schools. Prior to his service as superintendent, Dr. Yager served as a principal, school counselor and teacher. He holds five advanced degrees in education-related fields, including a doctorate in secondary school administration from Indiana State University. In 2014, Governor Mike Pence bestowed Dr. Yager with a Sagamore of the Wabash in recognition of his decades of service in Indiana’s public schools. He was appointed to the Indiana State Board of Education on June 1, 2015 by Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne).