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IPS board picks Annie Roof as its new president

Kyle Kurlick for Chalkbeat

Annie Roof, mother of three children who attend Indianapolis Public Schools, was named the new president of the school board Thursday.

Roof was selected by a 6-1 vote. Michael Brown voted for himself. Gayle Cosby was selected vice president and Caitlin Hannon as secretary, both unanimously. Chalkbeat exclusively reported Roof would be the pick on Monday.

“Our Board worked diligently in collaboration to hire Dr. Ferebee to lead our district, and we must support him in this endeavor,” Roof said. “Our job is to hold the superintendent accountable for the decisions that must be made, not to micromanage his every move. This board will be asked to make very difficult and important decisions which will not be easy, but will be done.”

Roof, 36, is an IPS graduate from Howe High School, along with her husband Joshua Roof. Howe is one of four IPS schools that was taken over by the state in 2012 after six straight years of failing grades based on low test scores. It is now run by Charter Schools USA under a contract with the Indiana State Board of Education.

Roof, who works part time as a realtor’s assistant, is in the last year of her first four-year term on the board. She has not yet decided if she will seek reelection in November.

Roof praised her predecessor, Diane Arnold, for her leadership during tough times. In Arnold’s 2013 presidentail term, the board bought out former Superintendent Eugene White’s contract, hired an interim replacement, struggled with a large budget deficit, approved layoffs and picked Lewis Ferebee as White’s permanent replacement.

“It was a very time consuming job which she handled well, while leading us through difficult but triumphant moments,” Roof said.

Roof, Arnold and Samantha Adair-White often voted together as a minority faction in opposing White. They pushed, mostly unsuccessfully, for the district to change course after Roof and Adair-White were elected in 2010.

In 2012 voters replaced three of White’s supporters with new board members who campaigned for big changes in the district. Brown is the only holdover from a once solid board majority that backed most of White’s decisions.

Two of the new board members from 2012, Cosby and Hannon, are now part of the leadership of the board. Last year, the other new board member, Sam Odle, initially sought the presidency before Arnold became a consensus pick. This time, Odle said he was comfortable with Roof and did not put his own name forward.

“We have gelled into a good working group,” Odle said.

Roof said eight years of movement toward big changes will soon pay off.

“I truly believe that this board, in this current configuration, is the board that absolutely can and will transform IPS,” Roof said.” I sincerely believe that Dr. Ferebee will be one of the greatest leaders IPS will ever see, and with the support of our city, IPS can accomplish our one true mission—putting children first.”

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