Building cooperation between parents, educators a goal for Carmel school board candidate

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the name of the organization where Jon Shapiro worked before joining Hope Academy. He worked at the Simon Youth Foundation. 

A third candidate has entered the race for two at-large seats on the Carmel Clay Schools board of trustees.

Jon Shapiro, father of a student at Carmel High School and fundraising director at Hope Academy High School in Indianapolis, said his campaign will focus on pursuing opportunities for student achievement and success, responsibly managing school finances and continuing to build cooperative relationships between parents, teachers and administrators.

CIC COM 0130 Jon Shapiro CCS

“In order to do that, there needs to be an understanding that educators and administrators are the education experts, they know what it means from a pedagogy standpoint to educate children, and parents are the experts of their child, and there’s a balance that needs to be struck there,” he said. “At times, I think we forget that educators and parents are bringing very important things to the table, and we all have our children’s best interest in mind.”

Shapiro, who grew up on the east coast, and his wife, a Hoosier native, moved to Carmel more than a decade ago in large part so their son could “get the best chance at a high-quality education” in CCS schools, he said.

Shapiro was one of four finalists for the CCS school board seat vacated mid-term by Pamela Knowles in 2021. The board selected Jennifer Nelson-Williams to fill the seat, but since then Shapiro has stepped up his involvement with CCS, completing the Expedition Program to learn more about the district in general and volunteering with the Yes for CCS political action committee to encourage Carmel voters to support the 2023 operating referendum.

He became interested in joining the school board during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when he said he witnessed growing animosity toward school administrators.

“Around that time was when there started to become some local groups that had formed that were showing their disdain or dislike for things like COVID restrictions and the masking and virtual school or the hybrid setup,” Shapiro said. “I felt it was important that our school districts started to see and hear from folks that supported the work they were doing and understood the challenges in making those difficult decisions.”

Before joining Hope Academy, a high school that serves teens struggling with addiction and substance use disorders, Shapiro was the program director for the Simon Youth Foundation. The organization partners with public school districts throughout the U.S. to support their work through grantmaking and professional development opportunities.

Learn more about Shapiro and his campaign at