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Retired IPS Teacher and Her Former Student Reunited To Help Transform IPS School #103

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Retired IPS Teacher and Her Former Student Reunited To Help Transform IPS School #103

Indianapolis, INDIANA – When Erika Bembry was a second-grade student in the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), she never imagined that she would one day follow in her teacher’s footsteps – let alone work alongside her.

Bembry is now a licensed teacher at IPS School #103. During the school’s teacher training institute offered this past July, she struck up a conversation with Angela Posey, who would be her teaching assistant during the coming school year. To her surprise, she soon realized that Posey was in fact her former second-grade teacher.

“She was my favorite teacher!” said Bembry. “We screamed, laughed, cried, and hugged each other. I always wanted to tell this dynamic teacher thank you.”

Bembry credited Posey, now retired after a 40-year teaching career, for inspiring her passion for education – as well as her desire to become an educator at a high-performing school:

“She was instrumental in cultivating my love for reading and education, and she went above and beyond to push me to active excellence,” stated Bembry. “Today, as an educator, I set high expectations for all of my students and I pray that I will have the same impact on my scholars that Ms. Posey had on me!”

Bembry and Posey will work together in a co-teaching model, in which teaching assistants lead instruction alongside licensed teachers, to raise the achievement of children at School #103. A coteaching model is just one of the many new features being implemented at the school this year as part of its transformation into the first “Innovation Network School.”

The passage of Public Law 1321 in 2014 gave IPS the unprecedented authority to replace underperforming schools like School #103 with high-quality schools that have greater flexibility and autonomy (“Innovation Network Schools”). The Phalen Leadership Academies (PLA), a nonprofit educational organization, was then selected by IPS to lead the transformation of School #103 – now called “PLA@103.”

“We are so fortunate to have two outstanding educators, reunited after all this time, to help our next generation of children succeed,” said Earl Martin Phalen, Founder and CEO of the Phalen Leadership Academies. “This is a remarkable testament to the power that great teachers have to inspire others.”

PLA@103 launched the new school for the 2015-2016 school year on August 3rd, with Bembry and Posey – true to form – leading a second-grade class of students.

About the Phalen Leadership Academies

PLA is a nonprofit network of public charter schools that was approved in 2012 to ultimately serve over 10,000 students (called “scholars”) annually in grades K-8 across Indiana. In 2014-2015, 100% of PLA’s third-grade scholars passed the state IREAD-3 examination, demonstrating proficiency on the standardized reading exam. For more information about PLA, visit or call Founder and CEO Earl Martin Phalen at 617-818-1959.