Hamilton Southeastern literacy educators to receive grant stipends


Hamilton Southeastern Schools recently received about $73,000 through a state Literacy Achievement Grant, which awards stipends to educators who provide literacy instruction for students through third grade.

The HSE School Board voted March 13 to distribute those funds to 437 educators eligible under the state’s guidelines, which means about $167 per teacher or teacher aide.

Deputy Superintendent Matt Kegley told the board that in 2023, the Legislature approved $10 million annually for the grant, benefitting school districts throughout Indiana.

“That money was intended to be used to reward those responsible for implementation and delivery of literacy and reading instruction through grade three,” he said, and HSE’s portion totaled $72,960.06. “We have chosen to disperse (HSE’s allocation) for both our teachers. teaching staff and our IAs, or instructional assistants, who have helped in reading instruction through grade three.”

The board unanimously approved a motion to approve the stipend distribution.

Also during the meeting, the board approved new administrative appointments and transfers. They include the promotion of Danielle Fetters-Thompson to assistant superintendent of foundational learning; Matt Kegley to deputy superintendent; Cecilie Nunn to director of business/deputy treasurer; and Ryan Taylor as assistant superintendent of secondary schools. Brian Murphy was approved as a new hire to be the assistant superintendent of human resources.

During public comment at the start of the meeting, local physician Denise Rehfuss spoke, expressing concern about the lack of diversity in the district’s administration. Rehfuss, who is Black, noted that Black administrators have left the district in recent months.

“It just seems like there is a a very defined goal of eliminating anything that is different,” she said. “Our district and our community have a lot of different types of people from a lot of different areas, who have a lot of things to offer and I think that needs to be reflected in our school district.”

Rehfuss said her son had been in private school when she first relocated to Fishers, but she switched to HSE because of its good reputation.

“But now I have been exploring and looking at the option of maybe putting him back into private school because it feels like it’s no longer a welcome environment,” she said.

The board did not respond to her concerns.

The district had several Black administrators resign in recent months. They include former Superintendent Yvonne Stokes, who left a year before her three-year contract was completed, and the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion director, Nataki Pettigrew.

The next regular HSE meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 10 at HSE’s Central Office, 13485 Cumberland Rd.