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Indiana's education insiders

Some names seem to pop up in Indiana education circles with startling regularity. One of those is Carol D'Amico, the former Ivy Tech vice president who lost out on the chancellor's job but ended up with a generous consulting contract from the Department of Education through her position with Conexus Inc.

Conexus Inc. is the politically connected go-to consultant for advanced manufacturing and logistics. In education, it might be The Mind Trust, where another familiar name just surfaced.

Anne Shane is the wife of David Shane, a member of the Indiana State Board of Education and former education policy adviser to Gov. Mitch Daniels. Anne Shane is former vice president of BioCrossroads and a trustee at Ivy Tech. She is also Indiana region board chair for Teach for America, which currently has a contract with the DOE.

The Mind Trust's mission is to "dramatically improve public education for underserved students by empowering education entrepreneurs to develop or expand transformative education initiatives," according to a news release from Wabash College about a recent award presented to the Shanes.

The Mind Trust, headed by the former director of Indianapolis' charter schools office, appears to be emerging as the education counterpart to Conexus. The DOE cited it in its unsuccessful Race to the Top application, so I suspect we will be seeing it emerge as a player among "education entrepreneurs".

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at