December 6, 2016

Former Board Member Among 3 Considered For Vacant IPS School Board Seat

Michael Brown was an IPS Board commissioner from 1998 to 2013. - Twitter

Michael Brown was an IPS Board commissioner from 1998 to 2013.

This article was originally published Dec. 6, 2016. It was updated Dec. 7, 2016.

A former Indianapolis Public Schools commissioner and two other candidates could be appointed to a vacant board seat.

The surprise resignation of the District 5 commissioner last month is forcing the board to hold interviews 6 p.m. Thursday and vote to appoint a candidate during a meeting next week. Both meetings are open to the public at the John Morton-Finney building.

The IPS Board held a closed-door meeting Wednesday Dec. 7 to decide which of four applicants will be invited to the public interview.

According to a news release, the finalists are:

  • Michael Brown, retired human resource supervisor who previously served on the IPS board for over 16 years.
  • Eugene Hawkins, senior operations manager at Praxair Surface Technologies with a background in engineering and management.
  • Dorene Rodriguez Hoops, current IPS parent who previously served as the vice president of human resources for a large nonprofit public benefit corporation.

A fourth applicant, Donnell Duncan, was not chosen to be interviewed. At least three applicants must be invited, board president Mary Ann Sullivan said.

Earlier this week, Brown said he hopes to regain the seat and provide a community and historical perspective to the board.

“I understand the climate of the district and I understand the climate of the students and parents in this District 5, he said of the area mostly south of 38th Street and west of Meridian Street that extends just south of 16th Street. “When I look at the other people, I look at myself as being the only logical choice. Because you need someone with experience. These are some tumultuous times for our district.”

In 2014 Brown was the the longest serving IPS board member until charter school principal LaNier Echols ousted him in the general election.

Echols raised $65,000 for the race and spent nearly $30,000. Brown spent just more than $3,400.

A day before the November election Echols announced her intent to resign from the board. She moved to Florida for family obligations.

State law requires a replacement be appointed by the board in the 30 days after an official resignation is filed with the county election board.

To be eligible an applicants must currently live in District 5 and have resided within the IPS district for one year preceding the appointment. Candidates can not be convicted of a felony that has not been pardoned, reversed, vacated, or set aside, according to the district.

A vote to appoint a candidate is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 13 at the John Morton-Finney Center for Educational Services at 120 E. Walnut St.

To be appointed, a candidate must receive four votes out of the current six members.

Last year the IPS Board passed over picking Annie Roof, a former board president who lost her re-election bid in 2014, to be interviewed for the District 1 seat vacated by Caitlin Hannon. Michael O'Connor, chief lobbyist for Eli Lilly and Company, was later appointed to finish the four-year term. He won re-election in November.


Contact WFYI education reporter Eric Weddle at or call (317) 614-0470. Follow on Twitter: @ericweddle.

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