After serving twice as the interim dean, Dr. Ena Shelley was appointed dean of the College of Education in June 2005. Shelley’s experience with the College of Education began almost 34 years ago when she joined the faculty as an assistant professor of early childhood education in the summer of 1982.
For the past several years, Shelley has been heavily involved in state and national legislation and policy involving the education of young children. She has also been involved with the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Indiana Professional Standards Board (IPSB), which oversees teacher licensure and accreditation of teacher education programs. Three governors have appointed her to boards active in legislation to help young children and their families as well as improved teacher education.
Twelve years ago Shelley began building a partnership with Lawrence Township’s Centralized Kindergarten and in 1998 helped them to begin to infuse the Reggio Emilia educational approach into their environments and teaching practices. She continues that work today, serving as co-chair on the Lawrence Early Childhood Task Force, with the additional focus of integration of the arts. She was instrumental in establishing the Indianapolis Reggio Collaborative, which includes the Lawrence Early Learning Centers, St. Mary’s Child Center and the Warren Early Childhood Center. Shelley also serves as a member of the Closing the Achievement Gap Committee and Digital Literacy Committee within the Lawrence Township Metropolitan School District.
Shelley has also provided the leadership to create the first Butler University memo of understanding between the University and the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to establish Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy (now Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School). In addition, she led creation of the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School, focused on early childhood and elementary education.
Her current research interest is studying how teachers in the new Early Learning Centers in Lawrence Township use the Reggio influenced art studios as they continue to develop their understanding of the many ways young children learn. Summing up her belief on the future of education, Dr. Shelley states, “Each day I see the future of education in the talented young people who have chosen it as their vocation. These young people could do anything, and they want to teach. I see great teachers doing extremely difficult work as I spend time in the schools. It will be up to our society to invest in educators by valuing the teaching profession and remembering that our democracy was founded on providing a free public education to all citizens.”
In 2016, Shelley was chosen to receive the Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE). “Ena Shelley’s influence and dedication to the field of teacher education and her contributions to practices in all levels of education are exemplary,” said James M. Danko, President of Butler University. “AACTE made an excellent choice for the 2016 Edward C. Pomeroy Award. Butler University is extraordinarily proud, and we congratulate her on this honor.” To read more about the Pomeroy Award, please visit: http://news.butler.edu/blog/2016/02/ena-shelley/