By Tony Sandleben—
MUNCIE, Ind. – With two seats on the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) School Board set to be open soon, Mayor Ridenour is announcing the names of the people he is planning to send to Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns for consideration for one of those seats. Those people are Carisa Aguilar, Brittany Bales and Dr. Amy M. Baize-Ward.
Dr. Ward is the current Vice Chancellor of Student Success at Ivy Tech Community College. She has a Master’s Degree in Executive Development and a Doctorate of Education from Ball State University. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Indiana Wesleyan University. Prior to her current role at Ivy Tech, Dr. Ward was the Bi-Regional Registrar for Ivy Tech. From 2012 to 2017, she was a senior project analyst at Ball State University. From 2007 to now, Dr. Ward has been an adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Community College. In that near-15-year career as a college instructor, Dr. Ward has taught Student Success for Transfer, Student Success for Computing and Information Systems, Mathematics and Microsoft Office Suites.
“I acknowledge my passion for lifelong learning started with the wonderful education received within the Muncie Community School system,” Dr. Ward said. “The educators have always had such creativity and passion and this pushes students to be successful. Muncie Community Schools is vitally important to the growth and development of our community. I am pleased to pay it forward to support our community, the students, and the great work of our educators.”
Brittany Bales is a current MCS School board member with extensive roots in the Muncie Community. Born and raised in Muncie, Bales graduated from Muncie Southside High School. From there, she went on to earn her teaching degree at Ball State University. She taught high school in MCS for several years to start her career. Bales says her experiences teaching in MCS classrooms gives her unique perspectives as an MCS School Board member, citing her relationships with MCS faculty and staff. During her time on the board, Bales has served on the compensation and facilities committees and played a part in getting salary increases to faculty and staff. She also helped evaluate ongoing maintenance and building improvements and helped complete or start various capital projects including HVAC improvements, roofing, rectifying open concept and soon a state-of-the-art football stadium.
“It has been an honor these last four years to serve the faculty and families of MCS,” Bales said. “As a Muncie Southside graduate, former MCS teacher, and proud parent of two MCS students, I pride myself on being an understanding, approachable and listening ear for everyone in our district. I love visiting our schools to see first-hand our exceptional staff working with students. I am proud of the progress we have made this far, and I am excited at the possibility to continue this work.”
Carisa Aguilar is the Lead Indiana Trainer for Northwest Bank, maintaining training labs in Muncie and Bloomfield. In that role, Aguilar trains virtually and in-person new and existing employees on company history, onboarding, systems, sales and soft skills. Before that she spent six years working in the school district, first as a parent volunteer coordinator where she acted as the liaison between parents and the school, maintained a database of approved volunteers, communicated teacher needs to parents as well as coordinated events that fostered home, school and community involvement. During that time, Aguilar also served as a substitute teacher at MCS. In those roles, she saw her excitement for the district only grow.
I’ve been so encouraged by the progress we’ve made as a school corporation,” Aguilar said. “Muncie Community Schools has been an important part of my life for the last fifteen years, and I’m excited to be able to serve my community in a role that will allow me to share my perspective as a parent, community member, and former employee,” Aguilar said. “I look forward to being in a position to affect change and to continue to move the schoolsystem in a positive direction.”
Aguilar said she hopes to get the opportunity to further serve the MCS community.
“Muncie Community Schools is already an exceptional school district,” Mayor Ridenour said. “I don’t take the responsibility of helping to pick its leadership lightly. The success of the schools and our community’s children means a bright future for our community, and I believe President Mearns cannot go wrong with any of these three immensely qualified candidates.”
Mayor Ridenour held interviews with applicants and then submitted these three names to the office of President Mearns office this (Wednesday) afternoon. President Mearns will select one from this group to fill the mayor’s open position.