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Board Members

Member Representing/Most Recent Term
Dr. Byron Ernest Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma Appointee, 5/27/15 to 6/30/19
Dr. David Freitas Governor's Appointee, 5/27/15 to 6/30/22
Gregory F. Gastineau Governor's Appointee, 12/31/15 to 6/30/21
Gordon Hendry Secretary, Governor's Appointee, 5/27/15 to 6/30/21
Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sworn in on 1/9/17
Dr. Maryanne McMahon Governor's Appointee, 9/14/16 to 6/30/19
Kathleen Mote Vice Chair, Governor's Appointee, 7/1/17 to 6/30/20
Tony Walker  Governor's Appointee, 7/1/17 to 6/30/20
B.J. Watts Chair, Governor's Appointee, 5/27/15 to 6/30/22
Cari Whicker Governor's Appointee, 5/27/15 to 6/30/19
Dr. Steve Yager Senate President Pro Tem
David Long Appointee, 5/27/15 to 6/30/19


Dr. Byron Ernest

Dr. Ernest serves as Director of Educator Development and Partnerships for Noble Education Initiative (NEI). Byron has extensive teaching and school leadership experience and was the 2010 Indiana Teacher of the Year and 2011 Christopher Columbus Foundation National Outstanding Agriscience Teacher. Previously, Byron served as Head of Schools for Hoosier Academies. While at Hoosier Academies Byron developed a successful teacher leader program, the Focused Leader Academy, for developing an intent-based and distributed leadership school community model. Byron also 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, Byron worked with a new staff to develop a culture of excellence focusing on high student achievement and performance. The State removed Manual off the “F” list under Byron’s leadership. Emmerich Manual High School received a “C” this past year and continues to improve. Prior to going to Manual, Byron worked as the Department Head for Agriculture Science and FFA at Lebanon Community School Corporation where he started the program from scratch. The program is now one of the largest in the state and is well respected nationally for its focus on teaching science in the context of agriculture.

Byron holds Bachelor of Science Degrees 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. Dr. Ernest just completed the Certificate for Advanced Educational Leadership program at Harvard University where he is continuing his Post-Doctoral Studies. Byron serves as Secretary to the Indiana State Board of Education (INSBOE). He was appointed to the Indiana State Board of Education by House Speaker Brian Bosma. Byron also serves as Secretary/Treasurer on the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Board of Directors.

Follow Dr. Ernest on Twitter: @ByronErnest 
Contact:  byronernest10@gmail.com

Dr. David Freitas

Dr. David Freitas was appointed to the SBOE by Governor Mike Pence, and reappointed by Governor Eric Holcomb on June 30, 2018 to June 30, 2022. 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.

Contact:  drdavidfreitas@gmail.com

Greg Gastineau

Greg Gastineau, an experienced and well-respected educator, is a lifelong Hoosier. Gastineau has experience in both middle and high school classrooms, having taught for a combination of 26 years in Pike Township and Hamilton Southeastern School Corporations. He has built relationships through the years with students, parents and the community in his roles as a coach of football, wrestling and rugby.  He presently coaches high school and youth lacrosse.

A graduate of Cathedral High School (Indianapolis), Gastineau earned his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and his Master of Science degree in secondary education, both from Ball State University.

Currently, Gastineau teaches ACP Government, a dual credit course through Indiana University, at Hamilton Southeastern High School alongside his wife, Erin, who teaches science. He and his wife have two children who also attend Hamilton Southeastern schools.

Gastineau was appointed by Gov. Holcomb at the end of 2018.

Contact: ggastineau@hse.k12.in.us

Gordon Hendry

Gordon Hendry serves as the board's Secretary. He is a First Vice President at CBRE, Inc., a global commercial real estate company. Prior to joining CBRE, Hendry led the Indy Partnership, a 10-county regional economic development organization based in Indianapolis. 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 senior 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, he serves on the board of directors of the Indiana University Hutton Honors College Alumni Association. His prior appointments include serving on the board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Indiana and 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. He is a member of the Indiana Bar and holds Real Estate Broker’s licenses in Indiana and Illinois.

Contact: ghendry@sboe.in.gov

Follow Mr. Hendry on Twitter: @GordonHendry 

Dr. Jennifer McCormick

Dr. Jennifer McCormick is a nationally recognized innovator and leader in education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Indiana. Over the course of nearly two decades, Dr. McCormick has served at every level of the traditional public education system. Starting in the classroom as a special education teacher and later as a Middle School Language Arts teacher (1996-2004), McCormick became the Principal of Yorktown Elementary School (2004-2007). She went on to become the Assistant Superintendent of Yorktown Community Schools from 2007-2010 before she was elevated to Superintendent in 2010.

Dr. McCormick served as Secretary of the Board for Ivy Tech East Central Region and was appointed as an eLearning Leadership Cadre Member by the Indiana Department of Education. She was on the board for the Indiana Association of School Business Officials and was a Delaware County Youth Salutes board member.

McCormick's work as an education innovator was recognized nationally in 2014 when she was invited to the White House to participate in "The National Connected Superintendents Summit." She is the recipient of the Outstanding Contributor to Education Award from the Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce and was named Person of the Year by the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce in 2013.

Contact:  jmccormick@doe.in.gov


Dr. Maryanne McMahon

For 17 years, Dr. Maryanne McMahon has worked for the Avon Community School Corporation in Hendricks County in various administrative posts. Currently, she serves as Assistant Superintendent – a role in which she secured math and science partnership grants with Purdue University worth more than $500,000, helped lead an efficiency task force that saved the district $350,000 and spearheaded efforts to give greater voice to parents through the Avon Parent Partnership Committee. Previously, Dr. McMahon worked for Decatur Township Schools in Marion County as a classroom teacher, Assistant Principal and consultant for staff development in the areas of curriculum and instruction. McMahon earned undergraduate, education specialist and doctoral degrees from Indiana State University. She also holds a master’s degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and an administrative certification from Butler University.  Dr. McMahon was appointed by Governor Mike Pence to fill the remainder of the term of former board member, Sarah O’Brien.

Contact: MBMcmahon@avon-schools.org

Kathleen Mote

Kathleen Mote is the board's Vice Chair. She has served in a variety of faculty and administrative roles in higher education since 2009, including as campus president and interim regional chancellor for Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited community college system.  Under her leadership, Ivy Tech forged K-12 partnerships to help high school students earn post-secondary credentials, shifting the focus from random acts of college credit to increased educational attainment through completions and outcomes.  Mote also led the development of sector partnerships between K-12, post-secondary, and business and industry.  She currently serves as Vice President of Operations for Southern Indiana.  In this role, Mote acts as a deputy to the Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer to ensure the supportive and responsive day-to-day operational management of the Southern Indiana Ivy Tech campuses.

Prior to and concurrent with her service in higher education, Mote practiced criminal law representing the State of Indiana as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Marion, Jackson, and Jefferson counties.  She was recognized for this work in 2014 by the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence as the year’s Outstanding Prosecutor.  Mote earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, Bloomington.  Mote earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish with high distinction also from Indiana University, Bloomington.

In June 2017, Mote completed a three-year term of service as a member of the School Commission for Prince of Peace Catholic Schools (Madison, Indiana) where she served a one-year term as Vice Chair.

Mote was appointed in June of 2017 to the State Board of Education by Governor Eric Holcomb.

Contact: kmote@sboe.in.gov


Tony Walker

Tony Walker has been a practicing attorney since 1995. He is the Chairman of The Walker Law Group, P.C. with offices in Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Gary, Indiana. Attorney Walker’s practice includes representing churches, schools, and government agencies with focuses on real estate and litigation.

He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Thought and Political Economy. Attorney Walker continued his post-baccalaureate education studying political science at Clark Atlanta University and then law at DePaul University where he received a Doctor of Jurisprudence.

After completing law school, Attorney Walker clerked for Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert D. Rucker, then of the Indiana Court of Appeals, and later entered private practice with the firm Meyer, Lyles & Godshalk. Attorney Walker served as Legislative Counsel to the late Congresswoman Julia Carson on Capitol Hill.

He has previously been Chief of Staff of Radio One, Inc., a national broadcasting company targeting urban listeners, and Chief Operating Officer and Vice- President of Business and Legal Affairs for its gospel recording label, Music One. Attorney Walker executive produced more than ten radio shows on WLTH Radio in Northwest Indiana where he also hosted a weekly public affairs talk show for seven years.

In 2011, Governor Mitch Daniels appointed him to represent the First Congressional District on the State Board of Education. He served on the SBOE until 2015. He was appointed by to the SBOE by Governor Eric Holcomb in 2017. Attorney Walker has also served as president of the board of trustees of the Gary Public Library and is a past chairman of the board for the Urban League of Northwest Indiana.

Attorney Walker is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, as well as the highest courts in New York, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and in federal courts throughout the country.

Contact: tony@walkerlawgroup.biz

B.J. Watts

B. J. Watts, who serves as the Board’s Chair, has 17 years of experience as a teacher and coach with the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC).  He currently serves as Executive Director of Opportunities through Partnerships that Transform and Inspire (OptIN), which is part of the EVSC. Watts has taught 6th Grade Social Studies and Science, as well as Physical Education for grades K-6 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 Varsity 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 serving for 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 Governor Mike Pence and reappointed by Governor Eric Holcomb on June 30, 2018 to June 30, 2022.

Contact:  bj.watts@evsck12.com

Cari Whicker

Cari Whicker is currently the Principal of Southern Wells Elementary School. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. She also received her Masters of Education in 2013 in Learning and Technology and her certification in Educational Leadership from Western Governors University. Whicker, who has 20 years of teaching experience, is a member of the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) and the Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP). She previously served as a board member for the Teacher Retirement Fund Board of Trustees/PERF/INPRS. Whicker was appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor Mitch Daniels in April of 2012 and was reappointed by Governor Mike Pence.

Follow Mrs. Whicker on Twitter: @CariWhicker
Contact:  cwhicker@swraiders.com

Dr. Steve Yager

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 by Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne).

Contact:  syager@sboe.in.gov