Indiana Online Celebrates Mary Brabson’s 25 Years at CIESC

We are thrilled to celebrate with Mary Brabson on her 25-year career at CIESC. During her tenure at CIESC, Mary has held four different positions, worked from nine different offices, reported to eight different directors, served in three associations, created a lending library for professional development, presented to the State Board of Education three times and the House of Representatives in two separate sessions.

Mary will be taking on yet another role, as she transitions to Program & Outreach Manager for Indiana Online. Mary will dedicate her time to not only build on our strong partnerships with our schools but also to partner with new schools across the state of Indiana. It is the most fitting of positions for her, as Mary started Indiana Online over 15 years ago focusing on those relationships.

“I created a program that was before its time which blossomed into a service that has assisted students to earn 179,489 credits towards their high school graduation. This could be considered my greatest professional accomplishment,” Mary recently shared.

Even though that might be her greatest professional accomplishment, Mary has a genuine knack for supporting and serving struggling students—those that had little hope of graduating, first-generation graduates, students battling life-altering illnesses, and students who have needed an alternative way to learn. In fact, Mary is often invited to these students’ high school graduations and college graduation celebrations.

Kim Hendrick, the Executive Director at Indiana Online, shares, “I have worked with Mary since 2011 and have witnessed first-hand her dedication, innovative spirit, and true servant leadership. She has taught me so much over the years. As I transitioned to Executive Director of Indiana Online last May, she has been invaluable. She is known all over the state by counselors, administrators, and teachers. Because of her expertise, we are transitioning her to Program & Outreach Manager so she can focus on our reach, growth, and how we support our schools. She oversees two Program Specialists as part of the Student Support team and works closely with them to make sure our students and schools are supported. We tease Mary and say she is a unicorn…definitely one of a kind.”

During her journey at CIESC, Mary shared that hard work and perseverance have been the guide for her success. “I have learned perseverance pays off; and if you put your back to the plow, set your mind to a task, you will succeed. Perseverance has developed a stronger character in me that has assisted in my personal life to meet challenges with dignity and grace.”

We love this “I have learned” list that Mary shared:

  • I have learned a career is not just for a paycheck, but the importance of personal growth it provides.
  •  I have learned that balance in life is most important for yourself and those around you.
  • I have learned to create goals based on positive outcomes for others.
  • I have learned my agenda is not as important as serving other’s needs.
  • I have learned to listen and ask the right questions without prejudgment.
  • I have learned to provide opportunities and grace for people to grow into their full potential.
  • I have learned to lead not by might, but by example.
  • I have learned more about myself and life in my tenure at CIESC than any formal education could have provided me, and for this I am grateful.

Her motto is so fitting of her character: “Look for ways to quietly serve the needs of those around you. No horn blowing. No awards. Because in this is your greatness.”

Mary, Indiana Online and CIESC cannot thank you enough for your dedication and service to our program and institution. 

You certainly live our mission of supporting and serving every single day.


  • Kara Heichelbech

    Kara Heichelbech is the Director of Student Learning at Indiana Online, which serves almost 30,000 students annually. As an educator, Kara has served many different roles, including classroom teacher, department chair, instructional e-coach, and building administrator. She deeply believes in the power of online education for students who need it and was honored to implement a full-time virtual program for partner schools across Indiana. Kara serves on the Indiana Connected Educators board and contributes to various committees with the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance and the Digital Learning Collaborative. She also presents at various state and national conferences sharing her love for technology integration and online education with colleagues. She graduated with a BS in Marketing from Indiana University, and after 10+ years in corporate America, Kara completed a transition-to-teaching program and earned her MAT and MBA from the University of Indianapolis.

Related Posts