Ena Shelley

Ena Shelley, Ph.D., has served as dean of the Butler University College of Education (COE) since 2005, championing the College’s mission “to prepare educators for schools, not as they are, but as they should be for all learners.” She has taught courses on early childhood education and kindergarten instruction since joining the college faculty in 1982.

Shelley has spearheaded a partnership between Butler University and Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), developing and operating IPS magnet programs at Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy and the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School at School 60. Butler students and personnel are actively involved at the schools, which provide innovative project-based learning for local children in preschool through Grade 12.

A recognized expert in the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, Shelley introduced Reggio in the COE and central Indiana schools. She was a co-founder of the Indianapolis Reggio Collaborative, which brought a traveling exhibit on Reggio education to Indianapolis in 2009. Interest generated by the exhibit inspired creation of the IPS/Butler Lab School.

Shelley is president-elect of the Indiana Association for Colleges for Teacher Education, and has served on the Indiana Professional Standards Board since 1994. She has been a prominent and respected advisor on state and national policy regarding the education of young children.

Big Idea: “Solutions within…”

The synthesis and convergence of concepts and principles of asset-based thinking, high expectations of the students, and the impact of design on teaching and learning are examined in this presentation.  The current rhetoric in education is too often focused on deficit-based thinking and a search for one answer.  The realization that there are multiple perspectives and possibilities when adults are able to see the power and potential of children, shifts and disrupts the dominant discourse helping each of us to see that the solutions lie within each person.

The Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents named her Outstanding Educator of 2010, the same year she received a Most Influential Women award from the Indianapolis Business Journal.