Indiana Staff

Mary Gardner

Government Affairs Director

Mary grew up in Indianapolis and has been passionate about education since hearing her grandmother tell stories about teaching in a one room schoolhouse. After graduating from Vanderbilt University with a BS in Political Science, Mary joined Teach for America in the San Francisco Bay Area. During her time in the classroom, Mary looped with her students from third to fourth to fifth grade.

Upon returning to Indy, Mary worked with high-needs schools across the state at the Indiana Department of Education. Most recently, Mary worked at United Way of Central Indiana, where she led school improvement work and spearheaded the Hubbard Life-Changing School Educator Award honoring outstanding IPS teachers and principals.

During her time as government affairs director, Mary has seen firsthand the impact the Statehouse makes in teachers' classrooms and played a critical role in Stand Indiana’s first ever line items in the Indiana state budget.

She is a member of the SEND board, Indiana Teacher of the Year Selection Committee, 500 festival volunteer, and was appointed by the governor to ELAC. When she’s not working to make positive changes with education policy, Mary loves to travel and can tell you the best place to eat in any city.


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