I’m currently in 10th grade, but for my 5th and 6th grade years at KIPP Indy, Aleesia Johnson was my principal.
Without Ms. Johnson, I might still be an angry kid. I grew up in a bad part of town, so I put on this tough girl suit so people wouldn’t mess with me. When I went to KIPP, I could be cool, laugh, play and have fun. At KIPP, for the first time, I felt like I had a place at school.
Ms. Johnson, interacted with the classrooms, she really cared about us. She had a desk in the hallway so you could just walk up and talk to her at any time. Just sitting and talking with her, she helped me calm down a lot. She listened to everyone, not just students.
Me and my cousins were really bad. I was taking a lot of medications at the time and sometimes when I wouldn’t want to take it, it would make me jab at people or go off. But Ms. Johnson knew we were capable, and she wanted to see us do our very best, so she took us to this room and she gave us papers. She told us to write out what our dreams and aspirations were. No principal had ever told me to do that. I had that bad girl attitude. Ms. Johnson told me, “you don’t have to put that face on in front of me. You have big dreams.”
She expected more from me than I expected of myself.
If you are scared of change, then you are scared of things that may actually help. You want students to stay the same. Ms. Johnson does not want that. She wants students like me to grow, she wants aspirations, she wants graduations. Maybe you are scared of that stuff, of someone powerful taking over, but the district needs her.
The future of Indy is the kids and the kids are in IPS. If we have Ms. Johnson to lead us, there will be so much growth. Graduation rates will go up, the kids dropping out will lower. Ms. Johnson will inspire kids to stay in school, get an education, graduate, go to college and be on top of the world. That’s what she did for me. Because Ms. Johnson reached me, when I grow up, I am going to be a teacher. I want to reach kids too. I can help reach kids all around the world. I just want to help everybody like she helped me. That is why Ms. Johnson should be superintendent.