Payne joins MCS as next Director of Special Services

Publish Date: 04/02/2020

Marion Community Schools is pleased to welcome Eleese Payne as the next Director of our Special Services Department.

Payne will officially move into this role this summer. She is currently Director of Special Education at KIPP Indy Public Schools, but lives here in Marion. She looks forward to serving Marion families.

“I have personally worked in the field of special education for over a decade now, and it's an area that I am very passionate about. As a special educator, I seek to ensure that all students have access to an excellent education that meets their specific needs,” Payne said. “I also value the critical partnership with parents and guardians as we work alongside each other to ensure their child meets their full potential.”  

She is already participating in proactive planning discussions in preparation for next school year at Marion Community Schools.

“I have had the opportunity to meet with a number of teachers and leaders at Marion Community Schools, and I am excited to learn and grow as a leader as I work alongside such a passionate and amazing team at Marion Community Schools,” she said. 

Payne has been with KIPP Indy since 2014, first as Assistant School Leader and then as Director of Special Education. Prior to that she was Assistant Principal at Howe Community High School with Charter Schools USA.

She started her education career as a special education teacher in Hawaii Public Schools, and then served as a mentor teacher at Evansville Vanderburgh Schools and a curriculum resource teacher at Howe Community High School.

Payne earned her bachelor of arts degree from DePauw University; a master’s degree in special education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a master’s of organizational leadership from Columbia University in New York.

“My husband and I moved to Marion about a year and a half ago,” Payne said. “Since our move, we've been blessed with the opportunity to really get involved and connect with the community. We've found an amazing church family, and we've developed friendships that we're certain will last a lifetime.  We're proud to call Marion home.”  

Marion Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Brad Lindsay said he anticipates Payne will have a very positive impact on the school system and the community.

“Eleese is deeply invested in helping all students succeed, and she will provide right direction, leadership and energy as executive director of our Special Services team,” Lindsay said. “Eleese is a personable, passionate, and capable educator. We are grateful that she has chosen to join our Marion Community Schools family!”

Current Special Services Director Melissa Pogue will remain in that role until the summer, and then will be moving into the role of assistant principal at Marion High School for the 2020-21 school year.