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Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission

During his 2019 State of the State Address, Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced the volunteer citizen members of the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission as a part of his effort to make teacher pay competitive with surrounding states.

The commission was tasked with determining what constitutes competitive teacher compensation in Indiana and with providing recommendations for how to achieve it. Below is the commission’s final report, with recommendations to school corporations and the state.

Click to download the report

Click to download the cover letter from Commission Chairman Mike Smith

Commission members

  • Commission Chairman Michael L. Smith (Indianapolis), former chairman, president and CEO of Mayflower Group and former executive vice president and CFO of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Melissa Ambre (Noblesville), director of the Office of School Finance for the Indiana Department of Education
  • Jená Bellezza (Gary), COO of Indiana Parenting Institute
  • Tom Easterday (Zionsville), former senior executive vice president, secretary & chief legal officer for Subaru of Indiana Automotive
  • Rebecca Gardenour (New Albany), member of the New Albany-Floyd County Board of School Trustees and member of the Indiana School Boards Association
  • Emily Holt (Arcadia), math teacher at Westfield High School
  • Dan Holub (Indianapolis), executive director of the Indiana State Teachers Association
  • Katie Jenner (Madison), senior education advisor to Gov. Holcomb
  • Bob Jones (Evansville), retired chairman and CEO of Old National Bancorp
  • Nancy Jordan (Fort Wayne), former senior vice president of Lincoln Financial Group
  • Lee Ann Kwiatkowski (Muncie), director of public education and CEO of Muncie Community Schools
  • Denise Seger (Granger), chief human resource officer for Concord Community Schools in Elkhart
  • David Smith (Evansville), superintendent of Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation


Member Statements

“I appreciated the opportunity to serve on the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission.  The report is a fulfillment of the Governor’s goal of better understanding, finding, and recommending ways to improve teacher compensation. Our teachers deserve a fair and competitive salary as they work to improve educational outcomes for Indiana students."
Melissa Ambre (Noblesville), director of the Office of School Finance for the Indiana Department of Education
“Much heart and work went into coming up with these recommendations that the Teacher Compensation Commission now submits to Governor Eric Holcomb. I am even further honored to have been a part of this initiative, seeing what has resulted from it. Our teachers are one of our greatest assets. And to intentionally seek ways to ensure that we are able to well care for them so that they are able to well prepare our students is tantamount for ensuring our state’s productivity and wellbeing. And I believe that what the commission has recommended here is a great first step in that direction.”
Jená Bellezza (Gary), COO of Indiana Parenting Institute
“The commission's report provides an excellent toolbox filled with a wide variety of recommendations that can be pursued to enhance teacher compensation and further improve the teaching profession in Indiana. The data-driven approach, thoughtful consideration of numerous ideas and detailed review of best practices from other states by the commission, combined with the utilization of substantial public input and extensive advice from education professionals, resulted in recommendations that could have a significant positive impact on Indiana's teachers, students and schools for many years.”
Tom Easterday (Zionsville), former senior executive vice president, secretary & chief legal officer for Subaru of Indiana Automotive
“The Commission has taken this task very seriously and appreciates the hard work of all involved. I enthusiastically support the commission's bold recommendations in its effort to increase teachers' pay in Indiana.”
Rebecca Gardenour (New Albany), member of the New Albany-Floyd County Board of School Trustees and member of the Indiana School Boards Association
“This journey on the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission has been a wonderful experience for me. As a teacher, I wholeheartedly appreciate the efforts from the members of this commission and I am very proud of this comprehensive report.”
Emily Holt (Arcadia), math teacher at Westfield High School
“To attract and retain the best and brightest teachers in Indiana and ensure all our students can benefit from high quality instruction, we must increase teacher compensation. I look forward to working with the General Assembly and local school leaders to achieve this mission-critical objective.”
Katie Jenner (Madison), senior education advisor to Gov. Holcomb
“It is hard to overstate the importance of competitive compensation for our teachers. Indiana teachers drive the success of our students, are a vital component of our state’s economic vitality and are leaders in our communities, and that is why I am proud to support these recommendations. The key to our next generation will be the implementation of these recommendations.”
Bob Jones (Evansville), chairman and former CEO of Old National Bancorp
“It was an honor to work with this dedicated, collaborative group on such an important mission and I stand behind every recommendation. To paraphrase Frederick Douglass, it is better to build a child than to repair an adult. Our heroic Hoosier teachers build our children every day and have earned our respect, support, and competitive pay.”
Nancy Jordan (Fort Wayne), former senior vice president of Lincoln Financial Group
“This commission is comprised of a thoughtful, dedicated group of professionals, all of whom are passionate about compensating our hard-working teachers appropriately. We have been diligent in examining Indiana teacher pay in context with today’s marketplace while balancing current economic realities. We’ve tried to consider all sides of the issue for everyone involved. There is no question we need to pay our teachers better, and there are many possible ways to achieve this. I believe the commission’s recommendations provide a realistic pathway to increasing compensation for all teachers, which should help us retain existing educators and attract new candidates to the profession.”
Lee Ann Kwiatkowski (Muncie), director of public education and CEO of Muncie Community Schools
“It has been my pleasure to serve on the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission. As a former classroom teacher, I recognize the value of our Indiana teachers and the dedication, support, and work that they perform for our students. The commission worked diligently to gather details, listen to stakeholders, explore options, and compile recommendations to improve the overall teacher compensation. I am pleased to endorse this report.”
Denise Seger (Granger), chief human resource officer for Concord Community Schools in Elkhart
“The findings in this study are compelling and clearly illustrate that there is no one singular cause nor one solution to this issue. I appreciate Governor Holcomb assembling the commission and fully support the recommendations contained in the report.”
David Smith (Evansville), superintendent of Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation

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