Mind Trust names Pike Township principal an Education Entrepreneur Fellow

Mariama Carson, principal of Snacks Crossing Elementary School in Pike Township, today was named an Education Entrepreneur Fellow by The Mind Trust.

Carson is just the eighth such fellow named from among more than 3,600 applicants since 2008 for the program that aims to select innovative education ideas from anywhere in the world and develop them in Indianapolis. The two-year fellowship will pay her a salary and provide support as she crafts her idea — a Spanish immersion charter school — into a plan. The total value of the fellowship is $250,000.

Carson’s husband is U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis, and her father is Marion County Superior Court judge David Shaheed.

As a teacher, Carson won a $25,000 Milken Educator Award. Her plan is to develop a charter school for students from preschool to eighth grade who will learn both English and Spanish. She would be the first fellow to start a charter school as part of her fellowship work. Earl Martin Phalen, who founded the Summer Advantage summer school program as an entrepreneur fellow, has since founded the Phalen Leadership Academy charter school in Indianapolis.

A Milken Award video about her teaching can be found here on YouTube.

“The Education Entrepreneur Fellowship will give me the opportunity to create an outstanding academic experience for some of our city’s most underserved students and use my passion for educating students on a greater scale,” Carson said in a statement issued by The Mind Trust.

At Snacks Crossing, a school where nearly two-third of the children come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free and reduced-price lunch, ISTEP passing rates have jumped 22 percentage points her five years as principal, raising the school’s grade from a D to a B.

She will begin her fellowship work in August and aim to open the new school in 2016.

Founded in 2006, The Mind Trust is a non-profit based in Indianapolis that aims to improve learning in the city by supporting educational change. More information about the Education Entrepreneur Fellowship and programs that were created by past winners can be found on its website.