When it comes to making an impact in education, two of Purdue Polytechnic High School’s administrators make students their top priority.
Keanna Warren, assistant executive director, and Shatoya Ward, chief of school operations, both share the same passion to see students succeed in and out of the classroom.
“I learned that my passion is to provide access and opportunity to students who might not have that person in their lives to support them all the time,” Ward said.
Both Warren and Ward began their educational careers in Indianapolis. Ward worked for Indianapolis Public Schools as a teacher for seven years, while Warren taught at Andrew J. Brown Academy and in Washington Township schools.
They also taught adult learners at the Excel Center by Goodwill. When Ward entered Marian University, she intended to major in nursing. But after spending a summer as a camp counselor at the Fall Creek YMCA, her career path took a different turn.
At the camp, Ward would come in early and stay late, which allowed her to build relationships with the children. And it was then she decided on a career in teaching. Ward earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education, health and safety science and biology and earned her master’s degree in leadership administration at Marian University.
Warren began her collegiate career at Purdue University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology. For her master’s degree in education, she attended Marian University and earned her doctorate degree in educational administration at Indiana State University.
There are three locations of Purdue Polytech, one located in South Bend, and the other two in Indianapolis. The schools were created by Purdue University in 2016 with a focus on science and technology education with a hands-on approach to help students apply what they learned in the classroom to the real world.
Warren started working in the Purdue Polytech network in 2017 when she opened the school’s north campus as the principal. Ward started with the school in 2016 as the founding principal for the Englewood campus.
Both administrators work to make the school environment a place where students feel seen, heard and represented by making sure students know that they have access to talk to them at any time.
“I think it’s important for students to see themselves represented in leadership and know that they have a space there but also there are some shared experiences and some shared understanding that we can have there,” Ward said.
Raina Maiga, a sophomore at Purdue Polytech’s Englewood campus, said she feels like her voice is heard at her school.
“Seeing the people who are responsible for my education (who) ultimately look like me . . . is really awesome. It really makes me feel represented,” Maiga said.
Warren and Ward said they will continue to push students to succeed and “make sure that student’s dreams aren’t squished by the limitations” that society puts on them.
Contact staff writer Timoria Cunningham at 317-762-7854 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @_timoriac.
Note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the names of the people in the story and facts associated with the high school.