IPS names Aleesia Johnson as superintendent

Indianapolis Public Schools names new superintendent

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Public Schools on Friday announced a new superintendent.

The board said they have reached an agreement in principle with Aleesia Johnson to become their new superintendent. Johnson had been serving as interim superintendent since December, when Lewis B. Ferebee left the position to become chancellor of Washington D.C. schools. 

During the press conference, the board said they selected Johnson because of her leadership and experience. She will first female superintendent in IPS history.

Johnson said she was humbled and excited for her appointment and looking to get to work.

On Friday, she named some of her priorities for the district:

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  • Student-centered teaching and learning,
  • Racial equity and
  • School-centered central services.

Johnson said while it’s still early, she doesn’t expect any dramatic changes in the direction of the district.

“We are going to continue to be laser-like focused on student outcomes and how we get to better student outcomes. We’re going to continue to be laser-like focused with having great schools in every neighborhood and then making sure, from a finance and operations standpoint, we are sustaining ourselves for the long-term as a district,” said Johnson.

Board President Michael O’Connor said some of those goals will be tougher to meet than others.

“We have successes sprinkled here and there, and I think good things are happening. But how do we make sure every student in every neighborhood has access to high-quality schools?” O’Connor said.

IPS said more information is expected to come out later this month from the finance committee regarding referendums.

Johnson said she will present an in-depth plan for tackling her priorities at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

On Friday night, Johnson released a letter to IPS families: 

Dear IPS families,

Earlier today, I was selected by the IPS Board of School Commissioners to continue my leadership of our district as the permanent superintendent.  I am so humbled and honored by this privilege to lead.  Over the past four years as I’ve talked with families, teachers and other members of the IPS team, my depth of conviction in what is possible for our district has continued to grow.  I am excited by what I know we can do on behalf of our students and families and I appreciate the trust you have put in us to provide your child’s education.

The road that we travel ahead will not always be smooth and setbacks will surely come.  But, I believe in our ability to succeed.

I am grateful to the Board of School Commissioners for their confidence and I look forward to learning and growing together in service of our students, our families and our community.

All my best,


Full press conference: