woman crouched, speaking with children

Ball State University and Muncie Community Schools (MCS) have developed a Joint Academic Innovation Council (AIC) to create innovative programs and strategies that improve the academic performance of MCS students. The council – divided into three teams – is developing a long-term Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan to be presented to the Indiana legislature in June 2020.

The Academic Innovation Council is a team of representatives from both Ball State and MCS. This blend of educational thought-leaders, teachers, administrators, and passionate Muncie residents are driven to:

  • Engage and embrace the ideas of all stakeholders throughout the development of the Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan.
  • Develop strategies and wrap-around services to strengthen academic performance. Those goals and tactics will appear in the academic innovation plan.
  • Embolden Muncie Community Schools educators and staff to pursue innovative teaching and partnerships.
  • Create a user-friendly process for educators and community partners to propose collaborations that benefit students and align with MCS goals and objectives.
  • Celebrate and share the transformative work happening in our schools.
  • Build community around and support for Muncie’s school system and its one-of-a-kind partnership with Ball State.


The council is divided into three subgroups.

This team guides the overall charge of the AIC.


Led by co-chairs Lee Ann Kwiatkowski and Roy Weaver, this team is tasked with investigating strategies for academic innovation and overseeing the plan-writing process.


Ball State Teachers College Representatives
  • Roy Weaver, Ball State Teachers College Dean (ex officio)
  • Jerrell Cassady, Department Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology
  • David McIntosh, Department Chair of the Department of Special Education
  • Sheryl Stump, Interim Associate Dean of Teachers College and Professor of Mathematical Sciences
  • Eva Zygmunt, Professor of Early Childhood, Youth, and Family Studies
MCS Representatives

This team of college representatives and MCS/University liaisons is developing the ways in which new MCS projects and partnerships will be proposed, reviewed, and managed.


College Representatives
  • College of Communication, Information and Media – Kate Elliott, Lecturer of Journalism
  • College of Health – Shannon Powers, Associate Teaching Professor of Kinesiology
  • College of Fine Arts – Kevin Gerrity, Associate Professor of Music Education 
  • College of Sciences and Humanities – Bryan Byers, Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology; and Lynne Stallings, Associate Professor of English
  • Miller College of Business – Kelsey Brasel, Assistant Professor of Accounting
  • R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning – Jennifer Warrner, Associate Teaching Professor of Construction 
  • Teachers College –  Ruth Jefferson, Associate Professor of Special Education
  • University Libraries – Lisa Jarrell, Head of Educational Technology and Resources Collection
University Liaisons to Muncie Community Schools
  • East Washington Academy – Lynette Varner, Senior Lecturer of Elementary Education
  • Grissom Elementary – Dixie Denton, Senior Lecturer of Elementary Education
  • Longfellow Elementary – Eva Zygmunt, Professor of Early Childhood, Youth, and Family Studies
  • North View Elementary – Rebecca Brown, Assistant Teaching Professor of Elementary Education
  • South View Elementary – Angela Stefanski, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education
  • West View Elementary – Amy Leitze, Lecturer of Elementary Education
  • Northside Middle School – David Roof, Associate Professor of Educational Studies
  • Southside Middle School – Erik Shaver, Lecturer of Secondary Education
  • Muncie Central High School – Cresta Hancock, Lecturer of Secondary Education and Program Coordinator