Jane DeVoe is no stranger to IPS. She attended Mary E. Nicholson School 70 during her elementary years and is a proud graduate of Shortridge High School. She also worked as a teacher in the district.

The proud mother of two spent her career working with children and families. She aspires to continue on the education path and pass on the knowledge she’s gained on important matters in education — including funding; caring for children and working women; and encouraging understanding of her new-found love for educational neuroscience, which sheds light on how children learn in schools.

DeVoe comes from a family who was heavily involved in the community. She recently reflected on the countless memories that inspired her and made her who she is today. She also talked about her ambitions and the legacy she wants to maintain in education.

Early life in Indianapolis …

My parents returned to Indianapolis when I was 3 years old. I grew up the eldest child with two younger brothers. I came from a family where women were encouraged and expected to attend college. Both of my parents graduated from Purdue University, where we lived while my father earned his Ph.D. My mother was very involved with the PTO of the schools we attended, as well as the IPS Foundation Board.

I grew up in a family within an integrated neighborhood, where the residents took an active part in our community, especially between 1967-1970, a time where court-ordered desegregation affected the IPS district. Many in my family have been proud social activists for generations, some even heavily involved with the Underground Railroad.

Additionally, I grew up down the street from Mary E. Nicholson School 70 (now the Center for Inquiry School 70), where I attended elementary school. School 70 was the anchor of the neighborhood, where lots of community activities happened. Neighborhood children would play at the playground after school and on weekends and I remember there being a huge carnival at the school in May and a Pumpkin Patch event in the fall. My mom and other mothers were part of a movement to allow young girls to wear pants to school along with skirts and dresses, which happened when I was in third grade and Mr. James Steckley became our principal!

Moreover, School 70 was named after my great-great aunt, Mary E. Nicholson. Aunt Mary was a principal, teacher and was on the IPS School Board. She was the first woman in many different pursuits.

Your experience at Shortridge …

My first day was amazing and scary only because the school was huge and I was a typical freshman! Attending SHS was an integral part of my understanding of what it was like to be in the minority and all of the positives and negatives that go with that type of experience, which was new to me. I realized that we as people are more alike than different and my experience at Shortridge taught me to respect diverse cultures, religions and areas of interest — whether it was academics, sports or other talent.

I am still friends with people from Shortridge. SHS was a musically and artistically enriched school, where we had a school newspaper, The Shortridge Echo. To me, everyone seemed gifted at something because the school offered arts, bands, sports, etc. which gave students the opportunity to shine. It allowed everyone an opportunity to share their talent. (Years ago), when the district was going to close the school, it was like taking away the opportunity for future students to shine. I was part of the protesting against the closing of Shortridge, along with tons of other classmates and our parents while the School Board was deliberating. I graduated in 1980, the next-to-the-last class to graduate.

Fondest IPS memory as a student …

Writing for the Shortridge Echo was great fun with my friends. I also really enjoyed being involved in enrichment and social activities at Shortridge, including junior vaudeville and the French Club dinner. My fondest memory would be experiences with the amazing French Club at Shortridge. They would have a huge fundraiser that assisted students to travel overseas. The club allowed me to go to Europe with the school. We went to Germany and France for six weeks of merriment!

My IPS education prepared me for …

Life. My education prepared me to be a lifelong learner and socially aware. It made me who I am today. IPS is an amazing school district and calls outstanding leaders among the graduates of its high schools who have gone on to accomplish extraordinary things!

Higher Education …

I went to Purdue University and graduated in December 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and a minor in reading and special education. I started pursing my master’s degree at Purdue, then transferred to Butler because I started teaching for IPS. I taught academically talented students for five years in IPS, then I taught in Washington Township for seven years.

I am currently completing a certificate in educational neuroscience at Butler and taking classes toward level 2 infant mental health certification.

My life since graduating …

I’ve spent my career working with children and families. I’ve also spent some time as a special event planner. I enjoy reading, writing and creating recipes.

As an adult, I’ve enjoyed learning my family history and watching their impact on the community throughout my life. Family members (the Nicholson and McKay families) were involved in the foundation of Herron School of Art, and worked to benefit the IPS school district. My great-great grandfather was also involved with the formation of All Souls Unitarian Church. As an adult, you appreciate family history in a way that was different from when you were a child.

Proudest accomplishments …

My children. I have two college-aged kids who are pursuing the arts. In addition, I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve children and their parents. It’s a thrill to have former students come back as adults to tell the achievements they’ve accomplished in life.

Family…

I have a son and daughter, Ted and Annie. Ted goes to Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich.; Annie will be transferring to Purdue in the fall.

Interests/ Hobbies …

I enjoy reading, writing, cooking and gardening. I volunteer at James Whitcomb Riley School 43, with Art With a Heart, and at the TC Steele State Historic Site. I am also a Teachers’ Treasures advisor.

A fun fact about myself is that I love basketball, especially Purdue and the Indiana Pacers. I am a dedicated supporter and fan of Purdue men’s basketball and proud to be an IPS, Purdue and Butler alumnae.

Vision/Dreams …

I aspire that one day funding is consistently in place to educate children in a fair and equitable manner. I am passionate that educators and those working with women and children apply what we are learning about educational neuroscience and the brain and how it learns in all our schools.

Additionally, I aspire to lead and support the way for Pre-K for all children, as research shows that early childhood education helps close the gap for our babies in IPS, in hopes that they are equally educated through public education.

 

Final Quote …

“Share your story. Tell us how you went from surviving to thriving. Stories have the power to inspire people to change lives.” — Yung Pueblo