Photography Provided by HSE Schools
Dr. Yvonne Stokes is replacing Dr. Allen Bourff as Superintendent of Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) Schools on July 1. Stokes currently serves as assistant superintendent for the School Town of Munster. Before her role in Munster, she worked in the associate superintendent’s department at Indianapolis Public Schools, where she served as an academic improvement officer.
Stokes credits her parents for her desire to be a child advocate.
“I grew up in two households,” says Stokes. “That’s important because I grew up in the city in Indiana and in the country in Mississippi. What’s important about that is I grew up with two sets of parents. My mother was an entrepreneur, and my father was a journeyman. Between the two of them, they both always had foster children. I learned early on how important it was to be that force in the community that had a voice and was an advocate for children.”
Her father was a college professor of the sciences, and her stepmother was a teacher who supported students with special needs.
“Both households were faith-based households,” says Stokes. “Between the four parents, I learned how to be a servant leader and how important it was to give back.”
As a former Fishers resident, Stokes knows the reputation for success HSE Schools possess.
“When I heard about the position opening, I knew I wanted to apply,” says Stokes. “The reason I wanted the job was a combination of passion, opportunity, and an internal drive to support. And it didn’t hurt that I used to live here, because I always knew about the great things HSE schools were doing. I just thought in such a time as this, why not me?”
Stokes was selected from a pool of 25 candidates. She was chosen because of her comprehensive education experience, her collaborative approach to addressing challenges and her approachable communication style. She received her doctorate in educational leadership from Purdue University in 2013.
Stokes has already started what she calls her “pre-work” but has ambitions in mind for her first 100 days in the role.
“During my first 100 days, I want to do what I call a listening tour,” says Stokes. “I want to make sure I’m moving throughout the community and building support. I want to find out where there might be areas where we need to make some shifts or not make any shifts at all.”
Dr. Yvonne Stokes will focus on four critical areas.
“I want to look at organizational efficiency and effectiveness,” says Stokes. “I also want to look at teaching and learning to make sure our students are having their needs met. I will look at culture and context in regard to a virtual environment versus an in-person environment. Lastly, I will look at operations and finance because we need to continue to have a healthy budget. Those key areas are critical to success for the schools.”
What sets Dr. Yvonne Stokes apart is her passion for supporting students.
“I know sometimes it’s almost a cliche, but I’m always going to support children. I’m a true champion for them. I’m truly passionate about supporting students.”
For more information, visit hseschools.org.