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Carey Dahncke named new CELL executive director

Carey_DahnckeThe University of Indianapolis has named Carey Dahncke as executive director of the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL). Dahncke will begin work on August 31, 2020.

Dahncke brings 28 years of experience as an educator, having taught in secondary and elementary classrooms—including a year in rural England as part of the Fulbright program. Dahncke transitioned into urban education in 1997 when he joined Indianapolis Public Schools to engage in school improvement work as a new principal. In 2006 he was recruited to help Christel DeHaan’s fledgling charter school. Under his leadership, the single school grew into an award-winning network serving impoverished children and adults across the city.  Most notably, in 2013 he was named by MetLife and NASSP as one of ten national Breakthrough Principals for dramatically improving the academic outcomes of students living in poverty.  

Since 2001, CELL has engaged in education transformation efforts to make Indiana a national model for educational excellence. Its efforts have focused on bringing Early College opportunities to high school students across the state, as well as the STEM Teach initiative aimed at increasing the number of highly qualified science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers for Indiana schools. 

“CELL’s work has been integral in connecting Indiana school districts with innovative strategies to engage the most pressing education issues of our time,” said Robert L. Manuel, University of Indianapolis president. “The University is thrilled to welcome Carey Dahncke to this pivotal leadership role. Carey’s dedication to servant leadership and educational transformation will help lead CELL’s future evolution within the University of Indianapolis.”  

“I look forward to joining the University of Indianapolis, as I’ve long been an admirer of the mission and its work,” Dahncke said. “For many years, CELL has been at the center of educational innovation across the region. Now, during these unprecedented times, the need to support dynamic educational leadership in Indiana couldn’t be more vital. Building on CELL’s phenomenal success, I am eager to help schools expand outstanding educational opportunities for all Hoosier students.”

As executive director of CELL, Dahncke will oversee strategic planning, staffing, budgeting, advocacy, school and government relations and other statewide initiatives, including the Education Workforce Innovation Network, STEM Teach, the Lilly Endowment Comprehensive Counseling Initiative and Early College High School. Dahncke will report to Interim Vice President and Provost Mary Beth Bagg, and will work closely with School of Education Dean John Kuykdendall on collaborative initiatives.

Immediate past CELL Executive Director Janet Boyle will continue to direct the Rural Early College Network project. Under Boyle’s leadership, CELL secured several key grants for important initiatives, including the $7.9M federal grant through the Education Innovation and Research program and a $2.4M award from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Boyle also led the statewide Early College initiative and created the STEM Teach initiative in partnership with Independent Colleges of Indiana.

“I would like to express my gratitude for Janet Boyle’s leadership and innovation. Janet’s work has ensured CELL’s strong presence at regional and national levels, which has allowed us to connect with educational leaders across the country and explore how our educational system can respond to the complexities of our world,” President Manuel said.