Indianapolis Public Schools has narrowed its search to three finalists, including the district’s interim superintendent and two education officials who currently work outside of the district.

Interim Superintendent Aleesia Johnson, who’s overseen the state’s largest school district since December 2018, is joined by Larry Young Jr., assistant superintendent of Elementary Education for Metropolitan School District of Pike Township, and Devon Horton, chief of schools for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky.

Johnson took over the top spot in the district after former superintendent Lewis Ferebee left for the same position with D.C. Public Schools in the nation’s capital. Johnson joined the district in 2015 as the innovation officer and became the deputy superintendent in April 2018. She became the first African American female to lead IPS when she took over on an interim basis.

Johnson previously led KIPP Indianapolis College Preparatory, which has an elementary and middle school in Indianapolis and will open a high school next school year. It’s a marker of what has become an important, sometimes controversial issue for IPS: charter schools and Innovation Network Schools. Johnson supported their expansion under Ferebee’s leadership and continued to do so after she became interim superintendent.

Young has worked for Pike Township’s school district since 1998, according to his LinkedIn profile. Aside from his current position, he’s been an elementary school principal and teacher. Young has a doctorate of philosophy from Purdue University.

Jefferson County Public Schools, which Horton has worked for since June 2018, is in the midst of a state takeover after the Courier Journal reported in 2017 that Kentucky’s largest school district underreported thousands of cases where students were physically held down or confined to a room in schools. Horton, who’s also worked in school districts in Chicago and St. Louis, became chief of schools after a council that reviewed the school district recommended the position be created.

All three finalists will be part of a public interview session starting at 5 p.m. June 18 at the John Morton-Finney Center for Educational Services at 120 E. Walnut St.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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