Meet Our Head of School

Dr. Byron L. Ernest

Ernest's Personal Mission Statement - "I use rigor, relevance, and relationships to be a steward of high student achievement."

Our Head of Schools, Dr. Byron Ernest, was previously the principal at Emmerich Manual High School (EMHS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Emmerich Manual High School was a state Turnaround Academy, meaning the school was taken over after failing for seven years in a row. Dr. Ernest was charged with leading a new staff and developing a culture of excellence where high student achievement and performance are the norm. This culture of excellence included working in a team environment around the themes of technology, rigor, engagement, global citizenship, and sustainability. These are all important considerations in a turnaround academy where remodeling, restructuring, and redesigning the entire educational process for high student achievement were the intended outcomes.

Dr. Ernest led EMHS's approval to be a Cambridge International Examinations School (the first in Indiana). Additionally, EMHS also implemented an academy approach to the school. Academy participation will be phased in over the next several years. Beginning with the class of 2016, all students will participate in an academy comprised of the following: Freshman Academy, Advanced Studies Academy, and Professional Leadership Academy. Within each academy are pathways that allow students to focus on their academic interests. The academies are designed to let students pursue areas that interest them along with giving them the knowledge and skills needed to excel and thrive after graduation.

Prior to going to EMHS, Dr. Ernest was the department head for Agriculture and FFA at Lebanon Community School Corporation. Lebanon's Agriculture Department is now in its eleventh year of existence. Dr. Ernest was recruited to start the program from scratch where a program had not existed before. The program now has four teachers and an enrollment of more than 600 students, grades 8-12; the largest in the state of Indiana. The flagship courses of the program, formerly taught by Dr. Ernest, are the Advanced Life Science courses in animals, plants, and soils; and food science. These are dual-credit courses with Purdue University College of Agriculture.

  • 2013 Purdue University Animal Science Distinguished Alumni
  • 2011 Smithsonian Institution Diffusion Award Winner
  • 2011 Purdue Ag Alumni Certificate of Distinction
  • 2011 Inspire College Mentor Education Mentor Award
  • 2010 Indiana Teacher of the Year
  • 2010 Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation Outstanding Agriscience Educator