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Indianapolis Development team

Meet our Indianapolis Development Team

Our Development team -- comprised of Myke Spencer, Lauren Hall, and Claire Jagla -- is committed to building broad and diverse community support for our regional vision and impact through fundraising and stewardship.

September 12, 2019

Learn why educational equity and excellence matters personally to each of our Development team members – and get to know the ways they’re committed to engaging our community in meaningful conversation and partnership.

Myke Spencer, Managing Director of Development

Why does this work matter to you?

Working toward educational equity is important to me because I strongly feel that it is the root of all other disparities that we see within communities today. Access to knowledge and opportunity ensures that all people are on a more stable footing in regard to living the lives of their choosing. As someone who struggled in most of my primary years of school, I feel fortunate that I had educators who held me to high expectations and believed in me. It’s important to me that all students have champions in their corners and that there are as few barriers as possible for them as they navigate the world in order to make a difference. 

How will you be engaging with our community and partners in your role?

I have the unique opportunity to engage with several individuals across all sectors who share our vision that one day all students will have access to an excellent education. Our goal for this year is to ensure that we are continuing to strengthen our relationships with those who are committed to the work that we do. I am also excited to engage with partners who are unfamiliar with our work. We are working relentlessly to tackle a complex and multi-faceted problem, yet it is necessary. I value the learning that I have been able to experience through engagement with our community, and I am looking forward to learning even more in the months ahead!

Share an experience from the corps that continues to resonate today.

I had the privilege of teaching high school science as a corps member here in Indianapolis. Teaching was an extremely humbling experience where I learned a lot about myself as well as the students and families that I served each day. 

A senior whom I had in my advanced placement biology course played varsity sports, served as the student council president, and took several college-level courses. He had a passion for learning, and despite difficulties, he consistently excelled in almost all areas that he was supported in. When I got to know him more, I also learned that he worked a full-time job and helpful his mother with his younger siblings. As a new teacher, my natural inclination was to feel sorry for this young man. One day I was working with this student after school, and he shared his story with me. I remember telling him how bad I felt that he had to work so much at such a young age. He looked at me and said, “Mr. Spencer, I am grateful for everything that I have and everything that I work hard for. I will be successful not in spite of what I’m going through, but because of what I’m going through.” I learned so much about resilience and perseverance from all of my students, but this statement has stuck with me as I have ascended to various roles inside and outside of the classroom.

Lauren Hall, Manager of Corporate and Foundation Relations

Why does this work matter to you?

When I was in third grade I came home and told my mom, “Some of these kids [my classmates] just don’t even care.” Memories of that school year include students getting in trouble, my teacher getting overwhelmed, and little happening in our classroom that could be considered actual learning. With an increased income, my parents were able to move my family to a wealthier, whiter part of the city. While I deeply missed the deeper, more diverse sense of connection and belonging from my old neighborhood and school, my educational opportunities increased exponentially. This is unjust and unacceptable. My story, my family's stories, the students I’ve taught, learned with, and served vitalize my drive to achieve educational equity in Indianapolis. Through our TFA work, we strive to equip every school and classroom with the resources, support, and accountability they need to ensure each student can lead a life of their choosing.

How will you be engaging with our community and partners in your role?

With sincere gratitude and humility, I am able to work with our foundation and corporate partners to funnel resources to recruit, cultivate, and sustain the leaders in our city who put students first. I identify and encourage a broad and diverse network of donors to join our movement for educational equity. I write grant proposals and reports, manage our state funding, and generally help partner with our programming teams to ensure our leaders have what they need to support students and thrive.

Share an experience from the corps that continues to resonate today.

“My cousin got shot and killed by the police, how come no one protested for him?” My student Aisha, who lives on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis, asked me this question during the Trayvon Martin protests that helped catalyze the Black Lives Matter movement. In that moment I felt both shock and shared pain. Her question elucidates acute, essential realities we must face in pursuit of educational equity and reminds me that we must continue to expand the “we” served by our political, economic, and civic structures.

Claire Jagla, Manager of Events and Stewardship

Why does this work matter to you? 

When I reflect on my own education, diversity and inclusion in my grade school classrooms played an integral role in my development as a world citizen who enjoys meeting new people with cultures and backgrounds different from mine. This not only became my most valuable life skill but informs all choices I make personally and professional. 

My mom remembers a conversation we had when I was in first grade and sat next to Joshua, a student with special needs. She said, “Claire, you know Joshua is different, right?” I argued with her until I finally conceded that Josh was different – just like everybody else. This early acceptance of someone with special needs, fostered by a classroom teacher, led me to become a special education teacher as a member of TFA. Later, as an arts administrator, I fought to develop programming that reached all students, regardless of ability or background. 

At TFA, I am able to work with a large network of people who make education more inclusive and our schools more diverse. Especially as our world becomes more interconnected, I believe diversity and inclusion are key in shaping our educational landscape into one in which all students will not only be able to lead lives that are of their own choosing but also live in harmony and work in collaboration with their peers.

How will you be engaging with our community and partners in your role?

I will build opportunities for our supporters to engage with and invest in our corps members and alumni. I hope to deepen our community’s commitment to TFA’s mission and strategy through highlighting the powerful impact that TFA corps members and alumni make on Indianapolis’s education landscape. 

Share an experience from the corps that continues to resonate today. 

As a 2012 Dallas corps member, I was struck by the generosity of the people of Dallas and their personal investment in the future of education in their city. I served as a founding teaching at a charter school that is supported by a family foundation. I knew the family members by name because they consistently attended school functions and field trips to make sure students had the resources they needed. Their personal investment in our work at the school allowed me to leverage my own talents: the family foundation funded my arts and culture club, through which I introduced my students to Dallas’s colorful arts scene. My experience in Dallas taught me that personal engagement in investments can maximize positive results in a community.

The spirit of generosity and its power to transform a city also resonates here in Indianapolis. The investment by Hoosiers in our educational landscape led me back to my home state to join the community of alumni building a more vibrant and just city.

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Learn about our current supporters and connect with our team.