Papa to continue public service, join ZCS board

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Zionsville resident and former town council President Jeff Papa wants to continue his long history of public service by joining the Zionsville Community Schools Board of Trustees.

During the Nov. 3 general election, Papa, 51, will run unopposed to join a board he said he does not want to alter. Instead, he wants to learn from its members and contribute his expertise when possible.

“I don’t think that’s the way you approach an entity that is doing very well,” Papa said. “Depending on who you ask, Zionsville is either the best school system in the state or one of the very few at the top. I think I would approach it the same way I’ve approached the councils, You go in and learn from the people that are there, from the students, the board members, the faculty, the staff, the superintendent, and you learn about all these things and you try to contribute.”

In his current role of chief of staff and general council for the Indiana Senate, Papa said ZCS’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been exemplary compared to other school districts across the state.

Papa received a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Administration from Indiana State University while working full time. He moved to Zionsville in 2002, joined the township board, then the town council and later served as the town’s mayor when the position was first created. He said that during his time in various Zionsville political seats, the town and school board developed a collaborative relationship he wants to continue.

“I’d like to think a lot of the things we’ve been involved in have been pretty innovative and pretty effective, and I hope to carry that forward on the school board,” Papa said. “In my experience on these other boards, there typically haven’t been other attorneys, and I think that has been a very valuable asset to bring that perspective.”

Papa previously was an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg, where he practiced immigration law. He served two terms as chair of the Indiana chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association and two terms on the national board of governors of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association. He has two daughters who attend Zionsville Community High School.


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