Former Fishers Teacher Opens New School
Writer / Pat Carlini
Photographer / Kara Reibel
One-time Fall Creek Elementary teacher Anna Shults is taking on her biggest undertaking yet: opening her own free, public charter school for students in Grades K-5!
Construction for Ace Preparatory Academy Charter School (“ACE Prep”) is underway at the 26,000 square foot abandoned office building on Hillside Avenue near 54th and College in Indianapolis’s Broad Ripple area on the border of IPS and Washington Township.
“It is a lot of work. Creating a school where lives are changed shouldn’t be easy, but I’m excited and honored to have such an incredible opportunity within the community!” says Shults who has been teaching her entire career and says she’s an educator at her core.
“As a child, I used to play school in my basement for hours mimicking my own teachers,” laughs Shults. “Teaching was just something I was meant to do.”
Shults spent 12 years as an elementary teacher in Hamilton Southeastern Schools and was honored as Indiana’s 2007 State Teacher of the year (she was also a candidate for National Teacher of the Year in 2008), and the experience actually sent her career in a new direction.
Teacher of the Year winners are given a sabbatical from the classroom for a year to talk to teachers statewide. “I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of leaving the classroom,” says Shults. “But the experience really opened my eyes to what goes on in other classrooms. I saw firsthand this belief felt by many that zip code determines a child’s destiny, but a solid foundation in the early grades can help any child soar no matter what where the student lives.”
Following her year of travels, Shults returned to her classroom, only to step away a year later for an opportunity to shape elementary reading initiatives at the Indiana Department of Education. She was then sought after by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a yearlong opportunity to lead the Foundation’s body of work pertaining to empowering and celebrating teacher-leaders.
Shults also became a part of Building Excellent Schools, a national non-profit that trains high capacity individuals to design, found, lead and sustain high performing charter schools in communities where schools have a history of struggling.
Today 40-year-old Shults is the founder of ACE Preparatory Academy Charter School (an acronym for Academics, Character and Excellence which was approved by the Indiana Charter School Board earlier this year). The free, college preparatory school will open August 1, 2016, with 72 kindergartners and 72 first graders and grow one grade level per year thereafter until they serve Grades K-5.
“I am wholeheartedly committed to the community we will serve and the students and families that call the Midtown area home,” says Shults. “This is the work that gets me out of bed in the morning and the work that keeps me up at night.”
ACE Prep is currently enrolling students in grades K-1. For more information on ACE Prep, you can visit aceprepacademy.org or contact Founder Anna Shults at