School News

News for Marion Community Schools


Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools welcomes Dr. Gwendolyn Battle Lavert, Ph.D, as our next principal of Frances Slocum Elementary School.

Lavert is a veteran educator with a focus on literacy development. In addition to serving as a teacher and school administrator, she has also spent significant time as a coach in the areas of literacy, school improvement and turnaround, and professional development across the U.S. as well as in Europe and the Middle East.

She has also served as a consultant to educational publishers, and has published several children’s books, along with several teacher resource books for improving literacy.

“Dr. Lavert is a scholar, a literacy expert, and a teacher of teachers,” Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “She understands literacy, data, poverty, and diverse cultures, and she understands and loves the people and community of Marion, Indiana. Dr. Lavert is a positive and enthusiastic professional educator and a proactive communicator. She is a visionary leader who is passionate about training all staff and clearing the way for continuous growth and progress for all children — the whole child — in every area of their lives.”

Lavert said she is looking forward to this new opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to making an impact on not only Frances Slocum Elementary School, but also on Marion Community Schools,” Lavert said. “I believe in high intellectual performance. It’s important that all children are successful and that they are moved to reach their potential.”

Michele Smith, who is stepping into the role of Director of Elementary Education for Marion Community Schools, said she looks forward to seeing the progress that will be made with the addition of Lavert to the team.

“We are excited about the combination of Dr. Lavert’s literacy expertise and the heart of our staff and Frances Slocum community. Together we believe we can accomplish great things,” Smith said.

Lavert earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education / early childhood at Texas A&M University, and her master’s as a literacy specialist there as well. She earned her Ph.D in educational leadership / administration at Indiana State University.

“Marion Community Schools is committed to the centrality of student learning, collaboration for constructive and continuous change, and equity and access for all,” Lindsay said. “We believe that Dr. Lavert is the right leader for Frances Slocum Elementary today, and we eagerly anticipate an excellent family partnership and the growth of our staff and our students under her leadership.”
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools welcomes Trudy Grafton as our next principal of Kendall Elementary School.

Grafton is a veteran educator and a proven leader specializing in building and maintaining school cultures of academic and behavioral excellence while meeting the needs of economically and culturally diverse learners. She has been nationally recognized for professional development and school improvement.

“We believe strongly that Trudy Grafton is the right leader at the right time for Kendall Elementary School,” Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “Her passion for and experience in serving schools and students who face challenging situations is a great fit for Marion schools. Trudy has a track record of influencing school cultures of academic and behavioral excellence while meeting the needs of diverse learners. We believe she will help us make better happen for all of our students, families, and community, as well as provide opportunity for our teachers and staff to grow professionally.”

Grafton said she is looking forward to this new opportunity.

“It will be an honor to work with the dynamic educational team at Marion Community Schools to support the learning of all students. I believe that high expectations equal high results. All children are capable of learning, and it is our responsibility to support their individual success,” Grafton said. “I believe in the power of yet; education is an ongoing process, and I am confident that we as a building team and as a district team will continue to increase the academic achievements of all students.”

Michele Smith, who is stepping into the role of Director of Elementary Education for Marion Community Schools, said she anticipates great things to come with the addition of Grafton to the team.

“Mrs. Grafton brings experience in building collaborative teams that will enhance the strong staff and parent involvement at Kendall Elementary. We look forward to taking literacy and learning to the next level,” Smith said.

Grafton earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Defiance College in Ohio, and earned her master’s in education from the University of Toledo, where she also went on to earn her education specialist certification in administration/supervision and curriculum/instruction.

“We believe that Trudy Grafton’s passion for learning, along with her team building experience, knowledge, and leadership, will inspire growth for both our staff and our students,” Lindsay said. “Marion Community Schools is committed to student-centered learning, to collaboration and continuous constructive change, and to equity and access for all students. Trudy will model and lead the way in all of these areas.”
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools is pleased to announce its new director of elementary education: Michele Smith.

Smith has served in various roles for Marion Community Schools, including teacher, preschool manager, elementary principal, and most recently curriculum coordinator with a focus on secondary education and technology. To her new role she brings expertise in curriculum development, data analysis, professional development, parent involvement, and much more. She will focus on P-6 education and will also head up Title I programming for the district.

Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay said Smith’s experience will be invaluable.

“Michele Smith is moving into her niche role as director of elementary education and Title I administrator,” Lindsay said. “Her experience as an early childhood teacher, elementary principal, and district curriculum coordinator prepares her well for this role.”

Smith said she is looking forward to this new opportunity.

“My passion is literacy and supporting students to reach their full potential. I want to support buildings as they design individualized instruction to meet students’ needs,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to building on my past experiences here at Marion Community Schools and continuing to invest in the families of our community.”

Lindsay said he is looking forward to continued progress as Smith steps into this new role.

“Michele is a doer, a producer, and an excellent communicator. She is mission-motivated, and she loves the faculty, staff, students, families, and community of Marion,” he said. “Michele is a collaborative leader, an excellent facilitator, and professional trainer. Her passion includes early childhood literacy and working with teams of administrators and teachers to make better learning experiences and opportunities happen for the students of Marion. Michele is the right leader at the right time to take the baton and continue our path upward.”

Smith earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Virginia, her master’s in early childhood Ball State University, and is completing her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction through Oakland City University.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools is pleased to announce a new role for one of its leaders: David Khalouf is stepping up to serve as director of operations for the district.

Khalouf has served for several years as principal at Kendall Elementary School. In his new role, he will serve under Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs Dr. Bob Schultz, and will oversee both the Transportation Department and the Facilities / Maintenance Department.

“We believe David Khalouf will bring excellent managerial leadership to these important teams that affect the daily lives of our students and staff across the district. David is a veteran educator and a proven leader. His experiences prepare him well for the director of operations role,” MCS Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “This is a different way of thinking, bringing a veteran teacher and school administrator into this role. We believe David's experiences and vantage point, along with our Facility/Maintenance and Transportation staff’s skills, experiences, and vantage points, will become a winning combination as we bring our best each day to our students, families, and community. We are grateful for David's willingness to take on this important service-leadership role.”

Schultz said he anticipates the move to be productive.

“I’m looking forward to working with David and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations.”
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools is pleased to announce the 2017 inductees to the Marion High School Hall of Distinction. The five alumni inductees include GIANTS in the fields of business, dentistry, and education.

The selection committee chose the five inductees from a field of nominees under consideration. Nominees remain under consideration for a period of up to three years.

The 2017 inductees are:
  • Art Faulkner, Marion High School Class of 1958, a well-known, highly respected philanthropist and humanitarian in the Marion community, who retired as a department director at Marion General Hospital and who served for years on the Marion Community Schools Board of School Trustees.
  • Richard Harris, Marion High School Class of 1965, longtime owner of Matthews Buick (until 2014), active community leader, and philanthropist.
  • Dave Tippey, Marion High School Class of 1969, outstanding science educator at Marion Community Schools and Indiana Wesleyan University.
  • Courtney Gorman, D.D.S., ABO, Marion High School Class of 1979, longtime owner of Gorman and Bunch Orthodontics, with offices in Marion and throughout central Indiana, sought-after educator and speaker, active community leader, and philanthropist.
  • Latondra Newton, Marion High School Class of 1986, chief diversity officer and senior vice president for the Walt Disney Company, following a long career with Toyota Motor Corp. in various leadership roles, ultimately as group vice president for social innovation, chief diversity officer for North America, and project general manager of the corporate citizen division.

The 2017 inductees will be honored at an induction ceremony and banquet set for 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at the Henry West Banquet Room, Barnes Student Center, Indiana Wesleyan University, part of Marion Giants homecoming weekend. Ticket information will be provided closer to the date of the event. Inductees will also be honored at the Giants’ homecoming football game on Friday, Sept. 29.

The MHS Hall of Distinction gives lasting recognition to alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the achievements and prestige of Marion Community Schools. It also serves to help inspire current students to aspire to similar success.

Any MHS alumnus who graduated at least five years ago and who has made substantial contributions to the achievements of Marion Community Schools or whose exemplary actions reflect honor on MCS is eligible for nomination. The Hall seeks to honor men and women who have distinguished themselves through superb accomplishment on a local, state or national level in diverse fields of endeavor.

Non-MHS graduates may be afforded honorary status in the MHS Hall of Distinction.

The nomination period will be reopened next year. More information, including nomination forms and details on previous inductees, is available at www.marion.k12.in.us in the Alumni section.