Mark Heiden

Mark B. Heiden

Creekside Elementary School
Franklin Community Schools
Franklin, Indiana

When Mark B. Heiden became principal of Creekside Elementary School a decade ago, he encountered a school with falling test scores, rising poverty, and no coherent vision. Recognizing the deep commitment of teachers and support staff, Heiden identified the need to develop a positive school culture that could be championed by every member of the school community to turn these trends around. To get there, Heiden facilitated internal assessments that allowed his team to set an agenda for incremental change, starting with the implementation of a new school motto, “We are family.” Next, Heiden took on initiatives to build a more collegial environment, from the creation of a faculty lounge to the implementation of PLCs. His collaborative approach to leadership allowed him to transform parent-school relationships and rejuvenate the school’s PTO, which was $10,000 in debt when he arrived and currently has an annual budget of $25,000. All of these efforts have led to turnaround academic success at Creekside, which has earned four “A” ratings in the last six years, up from a “D” rating when Heiden took leadership. In addition to his role as principal, Heiden serves as the High Ability Coordinator for his district and has been instrumental in overhauling gifted education at Creekside. He holds Ed.D., Ed.S., M.A.E., and M.A. degrees from Ball State University and a B.A. from Manchester College.