Jonathan Harris is vice president for academics at Herron High School, a tuition-free, public high school in downtown Indianapolis that provides a classical, liberal arts curriculum. Herron is one of two schools that make up an academic community known as Indianapolis Classical Schools.

Ranked among the top 1 percent of high schools nationwide by Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and TheWashington Post, Herron received an “A” on the Indiana Department of Education accountability report card for 2012-2018, the only Indianapolis high school to earn the designation.

Harris says ‘Classical Schools Are Blueprint’

“Indianapolis Classical Schools is the blueprint for inclusive, quality, high performing, public schooling in the city,” says Harris. In recent years, 100 percent of graduates have been admitted to a four-year college or the military.

Harris recently completed Ball State’s doctor of education (EdD) in educational administration and supervision. “The work that I did on my EdD fully prepared me for this job,” says Harris, whose responsibilities span curriculum and evaluation for both of the Indianapolis Classical Schools. He also manages the heads of each school, six department chairs, head of special education, head of counseling, registrar, and director of student accountability.

EdD Blends Online, Face to Face

The doctoral program is a blended format of mostly online classes except for monthly face-to-face classes that meet Thursday afternoons in Fishers, just north of Indianapolis. Harris gives both online and on site classes an “A” grade.

“The online system was easy to manage and filled with valuable resources,” says Harris. “Class sessions were facilitated by experts. I am persuaded that they are truly the best in the business.”

Program Helped Him Mentor Colleagues

Ball State Online students frequently say they are able to apply course principles in the classroom the next day. Harris says this preparation made him an unofficial adviser to colleagues who were enrolled in other graduate schools.

“There were others who were going through similar leadership programs at the same time that I was,” says Harris. “I literally ended up teaching and mentoring them.”

While doctoral dissertations are pursued independently in most programs, EdD students work one on one with their committee chair and take 10 credits of course work dedicated to the dissertation.

Classes Provided Dissertation Support

“The two that were most beneficial for me was a class in qualitative research design and a class that was solely dedicated to preparing the dissertation proposal,” he says. “The insight and care that was provided by my dissertation chair and committee was second to none.”

Like many EdD grads, Harris also earned his master’s in educational administration and supervision through Ball State Online.

Since arriving at Herron more than a decade ago, Harris has also served as choral music instructor, graduation coach, advanced placement coordinator, assistant head of school, and dean of students.