New Administrators Named

Dr. Crystal Thorpe has been named Director of Teaching and Learning Grades 6-8.

Dr. Thorpe attended Indiana University, Butler University, and Indiana State University (Ph.D.) and began her career in education teaching high school English in a neighboring township district. In 2007, she became the first Black principal at Fishers Junior High School in Hamilton County, where she received accolades for creating engaging courses, multiple club opportunities, leading “best practice” instructional strategies, and nurturing community engagement. Dr. Thorpe has vast experiences as an adjunct professor at the American College of Education and the University of Indianapolis. She has also served as the Principal-in-Residence for the principal preparation program at the University of Indianapolis.

In 2020, she was named the Indiana Association of School Principals Middle School Principal of the Year, and she represented Indiana as the 2021 National Association of Secondary School Principals Principal of the Year. Dr. Thorpe is the recipient of the Indiana Black Expo (IBE) Distinguished Educator Award, InnoPower Black Educator Excellence in Education Award, and Ford Motor Company Ford Freedom Unsung Hero Award, among others.

Dr. Thorpe currently serves as the President of the Indiana Association of School Principals (IASSP) and enjoys attending the NASSP Advocacy Conferences where she shares her voice with Indiana legislators on improving our schools. She serves on the Secretary Advisory Council with Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner and advocates on behalf of middle level education.  The Chief Academic & DEI Officer, Dr. Pettigrew, will oversee this position and shares, “We are excited to welcome Dr. Thorpe to Washington Township. Dr. Thorpe is a game-changer in middle school education. Her wealth of experiences as a middle school leader for 16 years and the instructional support she provides principals all over the country will benefit the staff and students of Washington Township.”

Dr. Thorpe is excited about joining the WT team, “I’m so thankful and excited at the opportunity to join the MSD Washington Township team,” said Dr. Thorpe. “I’m looking forward to working with middle school administrators, staff, students, and the community by collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure student success.”

Dr. Rachel Sever has been named Director of Teaching and Learning Grades 9-12.

Dr. Sever has served in the MSD of Washington Township since 2019 as the English as a New Language Coordinator and most recently as the Interim Director of Teaching and Learning for grades 9-12.  Dr. Sever began her education career as an English teacher in Carmel Clay Schools before serving as a CCS district leader. Since that time, Dr. Sever has led numerous initiatives in Washington Township, including Next Level Programs of Study and Indiana College Core. Dr. Sever also served as an adjunct instructor in the College of Education at IUPUI and Butler University. Dr. Sever earned her Ph.D. in Literacy, Culture and Language Education from Indiana University in 2015.  She received her superintendent’s license upon graduating with an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education in 2021.  Dr. Sever has also earned the prestigious National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Language Arts and was instrumental in the development and launch of Washington Township’s Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Program.

Dr. Pettigrew will also oversee this position and shares, “Dr. Sever’s experiences in literacy, bilingualism and biliteracy, and Next Level Programs of Study will elevate our current practices and outcomes for all students in Washington Township. We are acutely aware of the expertise and passion that Dr. Sever brings to this executive role and our principals are thrilled to continue working with such a dynamic leader.”

Dr. Sever was named Washington Township’s Administrator of the Year in 2021 and looks forward to working on continuous improvement, “I am honored and excited to serve Washington Township as the Director of Teaching and Learning for grades 9-12,” said Dr. Sever. “I look forward to partnering with our incredible team at the high school level to continue cultivating equitable, responsive, and affirming learning environments for all students.”

Mr. Brian Funk has been named Director of the J. Everett Light Career Center.

Mr. Funk is the current Assistant Director at J. Everett Light Career Center which serves students from Washington Township, Boone and Hamilton County High Schools. In this role Mr. Funk has provided leadership in the expansion of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, providing opportunities for students to obtain dual credits, certifications and employability skills. Mr. Funk earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology Education and his Director of Career and Technical Education license from Ball State University. Mr. Funk also holds an M.A.E. and Building Level Administration license from Indiana Wesleyan University.

“I am excited about my new role as Director at the J. Everett Light Career Center,” said Mr. Funk. “I am passionate about making a difference in the world of Career and Technical Education.”

Mrs. Alexandra Brownell has been named Assistant Principal for North Central High School.

Mrs. Alexandra Brownell is the current interim Assistant Principal for North Central High School. Mrs. Brownell earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Master of Arts degree in Education both from Truman State University. She began her career in education in 2007 as a high school science teacher, most recently at Zionsville Community Schools. In 2022, Mrs. Brownell was hired as the Assistant Secondary Curriculum Coordinator for Washington Township Schools; she supported horizontal and vertical alignment among schools, led middle school programs of study and curriculum evaluations, and provided extensive expertise in curriculum and instruction.

Mrs. Brownell is a champion for equitable educational experiences that result in student achievement and growth. She shares, “It is an honor to continue to serve the students and families of Washington Township. I look forward to building partnerships focused on student success.”

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