Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) names Dennis Thomas as the new principal of Shortridge High School. The one-year national search led the district to a strong candidate with impressive academic experience right here in Indianapolis.
Thomas has more than 18 years of experience working in education, most recently serving as the vice principal of academics at Cathedral High School. In this position, he led or expanded efforts in the following areas:
- Student social emotional wellness through a restructured school and college guidance program and support services.
- Diversity and inclusivity programming to expand opportunities for students from all types of communities and backgrounds.
- Language Support Program and Learning Resource Center that serve students with language-processing disorders and learning differences.
- Redesigned professional development based on collaborative leadership models and teachers’ individualized growth and mentoring.
- Innovation efforts that include a restructured faculty leadership team, reimagined and updated learning spaces, and plans for a new Innovation Center to include Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).
Thomas started his career at IPS as a social studies teacher at Broad Ripple High School. He has also taught a wide range of courses in standard curriculum, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. Thomas has incorporated student-centered teaching approaches, including mastery-based instruction, project-based learning, design thinking, Harkness discussions and service learning.
He served as a middle and high school teacher and coach at an all-girls private school in Atlanta, Ga. During his time in Atlanta, he also was an active public school parent and board member at one of the country’s leading charter elementary and middle schools.
Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from IUPUI and a master’s degree in education administration from Butler University.
As a young boy, he was inspired to become an educator by his great-grandmother, a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in South Dakota in the 1920s.
Thomas moved to Indianapolis in 1992, where he and his wife have raised three daughters. He will begin his new position at Shortridge in January 2020.