INDIANAPOLIS – September 12, 2018 – Dr. Jeff Butts, superintendent of the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indianapolis, has been named the Indiana Superintendent of the Year for 2019 by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS).
“Dr. Jeff Butts is one of the most energetic superintendents in Indiana,” said Dr. J.T. Coopman, executive director of IAPSS. “In his seven years as a superintendent, he has already served in all offices to become president of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents in 2017-2018 and president of the Indiana Urban Schools Association in 2015 and 2016. At the same time, his district has thrived and you can tell from his Twitter feed that he is a constant presence at school and community events. He is a strong leader at every level.”
Butts has been superintendent of the MSD of Wayne Township schools since 2011. He previously served as the district’s assistant superintendent from 2006 to 2011. He began his education career in 1992 as a high school teacher in Forrest, Ill., and advanced to become principal at four different schools in Illinois and Indiana.
Candidates for the Superintendent of the Year award must demonstrate instructional and program leadership in a time when financial support for schools is declining.
Facing decreasing property values in the school district and a student poverty rate that has increased to 78 percent, Butts successfully led the district of more than 16,000 students through a $15 million budget reduction in 2013 and a $20 million reduction over the next five years. He then led the district in passing a $66.5 million referendum for additional operating funds.
Despite the financial reductions, the district has increased graduation rates by more than 30 percent. The district also has expanded and supported a variety of ways for students to take college courses while still in high school; Wayne Township high school students earn in excess of 42,000 college credits annually.
The MSD of Wayne Township includes an innovative early-college high school, an early-college high school in its Area 31 Career center, a virtual high school, an alternative school and a preschool center in addition to traditional K-12 schools.
The district nurtures more than 400 Giant partnerships with businesses, civic organizations, and churches. More than 1,200 community members mentor students each week in the district’s HOSTS program.
Butts is a graduate of Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., earned a master’s degree from Illinois State University and his doctor of philosophy in educational leadership from Purdue University.
Butts becomes Indiana’s representative in the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent of the Year program. As of the writing of this article, Dr. Butts has been named as one of the four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year. The final announcement will be made at the AASA National Convention in Los Angeles in February.
All District Superintendents are asked to respond to a few questions. Click the button below to read Dr. Butt’s responses.