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Longtime IPS board member dies

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Hazel Stewart, an education advocate and longtime Indianapolis Public Schools board member, died Oct. 28. She was 88.

Stewart served as the IPS commissioner for District 5 for 16 years, according to Recorder archives.

Stewart’s obituary did not list a cause of death. The funeral service is at 11 a.m. Nov. 6 at Grace Apostolic Church. She will be buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Stewart was an advocate for school choice and served as a voice for lower-income families within IPS. 

“All parents should have real choices,” Stewart told the Recorder in 1994. “A strong school board, committed to meaningful public school choice, can make a significant difference.”

Stewart served on the board until 1998, when she lost a close election by about 300 votes. The late Recorder columnist and radio host Amos Brown blamed Stewart’s defeat on biased media and a lack of support from Black leaders.

“The lack of visible, vocal support from Black politicians, ministers and leadership was the biggest reason Stewart lost,” Brown wrote in a 1998 column. “Their silence hurt, along with the silence from organized labor, whose members Hazel Stewart championed for years!”

The Recorder’s coverage of the election didn’t quote Stewart but noted she said she would continue to be vocal in matters that involved IPS. Seven years later, there was a photo in the Recorder showing Stewart standing and speaking from the crowd at an education forum at Crispus Attucks Middle School.

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper. Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. She did so much for the children of Indianapolis. She was all about the kids. I was proud to work for her and with her. I am grateful to have been her friend.

  2. I taught one of Hazel’s grandchildren, and spoke with her many times. She genuinely wanted every child to have the advantages of a quality education. Her service made a positive difference in Indianapolis Public Schools and I am grateful for her work and for her life.

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