Blog interview series: Rick Anderson

Rick_Anderson.jpgRick Anderson brings a breadth of education administration experience to his hometown of Indianapolis as he sets out to found and lead an excellent school.

Rick is a graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and earned his M.Ed. from Christian Brothers University. His ambition is inspired by his mother, a single parent putting herself through college at age 50, who taught him the importance of education. From her, he learned not only a relentless work ethic, but also a deep respect and appreciation for education. After a couple of years in corporate America immediately following college, Rick felt a need to redirect his career toward his true interest – education.

Rick served as the dean of students at a Building Excellent Schools (BES) Middle School in Memphis, Tenn., after spending time teaching first and sixth grades. As a dean, he developed and implemented a school-wide culture and behavioral standard. In addition, he coached novice educators, communicated with students’ families, and devised professional development objectives for the faculty. Rick’s next step in school leadership was as head of school at the 6-8, then head of school at the elementary school shortly thereafter. In these roles, he led 60 teachers and over 750 students.

With this experience under his belt, Rick is prepared and eager to open his own school. In doing so, he is determined to foster a community that embodies operational effectiveness, a strong academic culture and a commitment to college readiness.

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Blog interview series: Ashleigh Graves-Roesler

ash.jpgAshleigh Graves-Roesler is vice president of development for the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, the home and museum of America’s 23rd president.

Ashleigh majored in English and minored in Communications at Asbury University in Kentucky. She earned an MA in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Ashleigh helps people to give, learn and serve their communities through her work as a nonprofit development professional for arts and cultural organizations.

She and her husband, Bryan Roesler, live in a circa 1918 house in the Warfleigh neighborhood of Broad Ripple with two dogs and some lemon trees.

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Blog interview series: Karla Lopez-Owens

Karla Lopez-OwensKarla Lopez-Owens is a native of Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico. Karla and her family illegally crossed the Mexico-U.S. border in 1999, and lived in the country without a legal status for many years, like the reality of nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States.

Currently, she is finishing up her third and final year at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. She aspires to pursue a career in the public sector as she feels a sense of gratitude to her community in central Indiana who has helped her reach her dreams of becoming an attorney.

She is particularly grateful for her mother, stepfather and mentors such as her law professor, Florence Wagman Roisman, to whom she attributes much of her success.
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Blog interview series: Meredith Davis


Meredith Davis is Director of Guardianship Programs at the Center for At-Risk Elders (CARE). She began her relationship with the Center for At-Risk Elders as a Volunteer Advocate and joined the staff this August.

Meredith graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Georgia and will finish a Master’s degree in Human Services with a concentration in Social Services Administration at the University of Illinois – Springfield in December 2017. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the past five years and is passionate about advocacy and person-centered services. Meredith hopes to grow the guardianship program through recruiting and retaining volunteers who want to protect elders from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

In her free time, Meredith enjoys volunteering in her Near Eastside neighborhood and serving as a member of the executive board of her Daughters of the American Revolution chapter. She is also trying to find time to plan a wedding, organize a UGA alumni group in Indy, study, and say yes to all the interesting projects that she hears other motivated nonprofit professionals talk about.

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Blog interview series: Tristan Schmid

tristan_schmid-rita_kohn-broad_ripple_brewpub.jpgEditor's note: And now for something completely different! Here's someone who works at an organization you might not think of as a nonprofit at first glance. 

Tristan Schmid is Communications Director for the Brewers of Indiana Guild, the nonprofit trade group that represents the Hoosier brewing industry. You can find him on social media @TigerSharkMusic.

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Blog interview series: Elle Roberts


Elle Roberts is a musician and freelance writer based in Indianapolis. She is the founder of shehive, a grassroots gender equity project. To contact her, email




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Blog interview series: Ashlee Wilson Fujawa

2014-06-14_09.36.26.jpgAshlee has been the Director of Public Relations at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful since 2010, setting direction for all things creative in the marketing and communications field. She works closely with the programs staff and the media to highlight the amazing things that KIB is doing all over Indy and beyond. You’ll find her most days toiling away at social media, drafting press releases, organizing events and planning, developing and implementing all of the KIB’s marketing strategies and public relations activities; but if you look closely you might find her in the warehouse or driving a dump truck — all in the name of keeping Indy beautiful.

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Blog interview series: Elizabeth Nelson

12088266_10106309267688839_2786641495162533066_n.jpgElizabeth Nelson is the Director of Public Programs at the Indiana Medical History Museum, formerly the Pathological Department of Indiana’s Central State psychiatric hospital on Indy’s Near West Side. Her passion is making history relevant to current conversations about mental health in our community. At Indiana University, Bloomington, her doctoral dissertation focused on psychiatric innovation in France before World War I. Currently, Elizabeth is learning all she can about deinstitutionalization and the community care (and neglect) of the mentally ill in the US since the 1960s. At the Indiana Medical History Museum, Elizabeth is leading a project called “Voices from Central State,” a series of Fall 2016 programs that spotlight the writings of psychiatric patients in Indiana from the 1880s-1990s.

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Blog interview series: Sean Tierney

ST.JPGSean Tierney is a program officer at Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing Americans’ success in higher education. Prior to coming to Lumina, Sean worked for the Maryland and Tennessee state governments, in their respective higher education commissions. He has a bachelor of arts in economics, creative writing and sociology, and master of public policy in education policy from Vanderbilt University. Sean focuses on college and university finance, looking for ways to make education more affordable and accessible and improving the ways colleges are funded.

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Blog interview series: Sibeko Jywanza

gracemichaelphotography2015-2.jpgSibeko Jywanza was born and raised in Indianapolis. He graduated from a boarding school in Piney Woods, Mississippi, called Piney Woods Country Life School. His next stop was Tallahassee to attend Florida A&M University, where he graduated in 2005 with a B.A in Business Administration. A year later he moved back to Indianapolis, IN in order to reengage with his family and community. He found work with a private practice dental office. He worked there for 8 years, five of those as the financial administrator. Sibeko participated in the Community Leadership Certificate program through the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC) and was a part of the 2013 class. Through the INRC he found out about Public Allies/AmeriCorps and started his 10 month term with Public Allies in the fall of 2014 serving as a Community Catalyst for Near East Area Renewal; a Near Eastside housing community development corporation. Now Sibeko is a Neighborhood Specialist with INRC.


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