Ball State University, BS ‘91 Exercise Science and Physiology
Licensed Realtor, NAR, IAR 21 years
Transition to Teaching partial
Substitute Teacher 9 years
Basketball Coach Youth Sports ages 8-15 6 years
Football Coach Youth Sports Ages 8 - 12 6 years
Years as a Fishers Resident? 20
Community Involvement Activities
Substitute Teacher K-12 HSE schools, nine years
Teachers Reading Aid Elementary 2 years
Many years with PTO all level of schools
Room Parent Coordinator four years
Volunteer Concessions throughout the years
Coached 4th – 8th grade boys basketball for six years
Coached 1st – 6th grade boys football for six years
Announcer for Lacrosse at FHS and HSE, eight years.
Announcer for HSE Lacrosse State Champ team 2018
FHS Gridiron Club and HSE Touchdown Club Committees and Chairman
Various Food Drives through school, church, clubs and sports
Religious Education Teacher Holy Spirit at Geist Church 2003-2007
Parishioner at Holy Spirit at Geist Church
Being a leader came early for me, Suzanne Thomas and It has defined me.
Growing up in Northbrook, Illinois, (Suburb of Chicago) I was a Varsity athlete, captain and top in the state in track & field and Volleyball. I was Miss Teen Illinois. I became accustomed to being in the spotlight and performing at a high level - and winning.
While my athletic prowess, led to being a Heptathlete on the Ball State track & field team, my journey was not without obstacles. In my third year, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I had three craniotomies, was temporarily blind, deaf and paralyzed following surgery. with a lot of fight and determination I overcame these challenges with perseverance and a strong will to succeed.
I went on to graduate from BSU. I was married for 23 years and was blessed with four amazing children. Tragedy hit my family 6 years ago when my husband passed from a heart attack. Digging deep, it was time to lead my four children through their lives without their father. Though emotionally it was devastating, I once again pushed through and I feel this has been the biggest and most successful experience I have accomplished ... and actually it is a forever role. My adult kids graduated from HSE and FHS. One graduated college, one in college, and one a Marine Reserve and working a successful job. My youngest is a Freshman at HSE.
Through each of their experiences in school, I have held leadership roles in school, clubs and sports teams. I led committees and fundraisers. As my kids aged, I started my own business, The Thomas TEAM Group Investments where I own three companies: The Thomas TEAM of Carpenter Realtors, The Thomas TEAM Travel Group and Thomas TEAM Wellness.
Early in my in my real estate career, I was recruited to lead a team on the large corporate account for Chrysler Relocation. We grew the division and sold over 25 million in real estate in 3 years.
I also was Director of Wellness and Youth Sports at the YMCA for 3 years. Organizing and creating programs in various sports for youth age kids along with designing wellness programs for adults.
I have coached sports for 10 years of all ages, and served on many PTO and booster committees. Most recently was President of John Carroll University Parent Booster Organization of my son’s Collegiate Lacrosse team for 3years and VP 1 yr:
Worked with a budget $40-$50k
Managed 100 adults all over the country
Led, created and organized Fundraising
Designed and created a successful communication network for parents, coaches, Athletic Director and University
Being a leader is something I do on a day to day basis. From running a Household, volunteering on a school committee to leading my sellers or buyers through a stress free and rewarding real estate transaction.... And I am confident I can be an effective Leader for HSE Schools.
1. What is your number one reason for wanting to serve on the school board?
I have often thought about serving on the school board. Having four kids made it difficult to find the time. Then, I lost my husband and the time just wasn't right. Last year, knowing I'd only have one in high school, I decided it was time to consider school board again. After some research and gathering data that shows our state rankings have dropped, I felt now more than ever, it was time to bring HSE education back to excellence.
By watching the handling and planning or lack thereof of the current reopening plan this only cemented my desire to serve our students, families, teachers and community. Families and teachers should have had a choice, and schools should have opened in August. Lastly, as a Real Estate Agent, serving Fishers and surrounding areas, I know how valuable the excellent school system is to driving families to the area, maintaining and improving real estate values which in turn sparks our economy. It's imperative, to return our primary focus to excellence in education
2. What role does policy play/have in the function of the board?
Public policy in education is critical for driving new educational initiatives to all school districts in the State of Indiana. Our Indiana Department of Education sets the vision and goals for educational programming across the Indiana. Funding for State initiatives based upon these goals can reach our school district to help HSE in executing new programs and curriculum to reach goals like literacy, STEM, or Special Education.
3. What legislative action at the state level would you support to improve education in our community.
For the 2020 and 2021 academic years, the Indiana Department of Education requested $10,000,000 from the legislature for Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) curriculum. Unfortunately, the appropriation has only been $1M per year in 2018 and 2019 and should have been increased sooner. Indiana schools are now playing catch up with the education systems in other states that are further along in STEM curriculum development. STEM initiatives are critical for developing our students and connecting them with high tech jobs within our state.
4. What do you think is the biggest issue facing your district?
I feel the biggest challenge facing our district is a lack of clarity and poor communication to parents, teachers and the community. The leadership in School Board meetings reacts to developments versus promoting a proactive vision for our schools. We need a school board that communicates clear plans and ideas then executed and communicates about them well. In short be more proactive and less reactive.
5. If you were elected what one thing would you like to accomplish during your term?
This is too hard to list one thing, so I will give the short version of a few things. In no particular order:
The launch of the Purdue Polytechnic program. This district has long lacked a technical or trade school option. Getting this program launched in 2021 is imperative! Bringing more vocational, trade, technical and life skills training an education is so important to the well rounded student, and offers opportunities for ALL students to prepare them for life after high school.
I want to set the strategic priority for HSE Schools to be rated and ranked by ALL major national school evaluation services as at least a “top five” district i Indiana with the stretch goal to be #1. I would push for a school board committee to study and develop a comprehensive plan to exceed all national education rating services’ measurements of a top school system.
The Social & Cultural Change Programs that are the current board’s priority are extremely important and critical to our education and development of the “whole child”. Two programs being implemented across the HSE community include: SEL - Social & Emotional Learning and Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion. Since I am not a board member, I do not know the metrics and accountability of success and if the programs are working. I, along with the parent community, would like to know. Implementation is important factor, and parent community should be involved. There needs to be a metric set up that includes parents in the decisions process prior to implementation. I hope to be able to review this area further for the well being of all students.
As a business owner of 22 years, I understand the value in collecting data, doing extensive research, balancing and overseeing a large budget and making leadership decisions. I would like to improve structure, organization and bring my leadership skills to my board position. Making tough decisions while balancing the well being, education for ALL students and growth of our school system is so important.
I also want to have consistency in communication. Our board needs to make strategic decisions that incorporates the visions and input from our parents, students, and teachers. Be mindful and clear in holding administration accountable while protecting privacy and fairness in relaying communication to parents and community.
Preferred Contact Information (How do you want voters to contact you?)