Future Chief Aleesia Johnson selected as superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools

Chiefs for Change

Johnson has led the district in an interim capacity since January 

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) today announced that Aleesia Johnson, a member of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs leadership development program, has been selected as superintendent after serving in that role in an interim capacity since January.  She is the first African-American woman to lead the district.

“Aleesia is a dynamic and collaborative leader who has demonstrated an uncompromising commitment to educational quality and equity over the course of her career,” said Chiefs for Change Board Chair John White. “Driven by her values and expertise, she will continue to partner with teachers, principals, students, and families to help ensure every child in Indianapolis receives an excellent education.”

Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of state and district education chiefs, identified Johnson as one of the field’s most talented emerging leaders and selected her this spring to join the fourth cohort of the Future Chiefs program. Through her involvement with the program, Johnson works with some of the boldest and most innovative education chiefs in the country.

“Aleesia was raised by a family of educators, and her own children attend IPS schools,” Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee said. “She knows the community and is deeply invested in its success. Through the Future Chiefs program, I’ve seen how Aleesia applies her talent, energy, and ideas to help all students reach their full potential. That will continue to be the motivating force behind her leadership as superintendent, and we look forward to following her important work.”

Johnson has been an educator for more than 16 years, achieving success as a teacher, school leader, and administrator in both public charter and traditional district schools. A Teach For America alum, Johnson led KIPP Indianapolis College Preparatory from 2012 until 2015, meeting or exceeding student achievement standards as established by the school’s charter authorizer and increasing student retention year over year. In 2015, Johnson joined IPS as innovation officer, responsible for developing and implementing an innovation and autonomy strategy across the district of more than 30,000 students, most of whom are children of color from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. She significantly increased district-charter partnerships, launched and expanded a new autonomous school model within the district, and helped transform the central office to better support individual schools.

Prior to serving as interim superintendent, Johnson was deputy superintendent for academics. She oversaw all aspects of curriculum and instruction; performance and continuous improvement; postsecondary readiness; special education; student services; and portfolio initiatives.

To hear Johnson explain what education means to her, watch this video. Learn more about the Future Chiefs program here.  


About Chiefs for Change

Chiefs for Change is a nonprofit, bipartisan network of diverse state and district education chiefs dedicated to preparing all students for today’s world and tomorrow’s through deeply committed leadership. Chiefs for Change advocates for policies and practices that are making a difference