Shon Harris is a Memphis native who relocated to Indianapolis in 2015 as a Teach for America corps member. He taught 4th grade for three years with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and Avondale Meadows Academy. Shon is also a graduate of Wake Forest University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Politics & International Affairs, and Marian University, earning a Master’s in Teaching. He currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Governance Team supporting the IPS Superintendent’s Office and Board of School Commissioners with district policy development and special projects.
The 1828 Leadership Project, presented by Citizens Energy Group, is a civic leadership tract for Indy’s young leaders with the goal of fostering intentional relationships with a cross sector of Indianapolis’ thought leaders and decision makers. Shon is a part of 1828’s Class X– learn more about him below!
How do you spend your days? For example, you can tell us about your career, side hustle or exercise routine whatever you want to share here we’re ready to listen.
I recently transitioned into a new role, Manager of Equity Advancement, at IPS. I spend my days collaborating with brilliant leaders across the city who are also passionate about increasing racial equity in our schools and through our organization.
Where’s the first place you called home?
I’m originally from Memphis, TN. I relocated to Indy back in 2015 to join Teach for America where I taught 4th grade for three years. I’ve been here since.
You’re off the clock, there are no expectations. What are you doing?
When I’m not working, I’m either listening to music trying to discover new artists, binging shows on Netflix, or pedaling it out on my Peloton (which I may be a little obsessed with).
When thinking about the future of Indianapolis, what are you most looking forward to in the next 5 years and why?
I am mind-blown just how much Indy has transformed over the last 5 years. There are so many great people doing amazing work that love this city as much as I do. I’m not sure what Indy will look like in 5 years, but I do believe that the sky is the limit. I’m most excited to be a part of this movement to make Indianapolis one of the best cities in our country.
Are there any local causes that you support? What are they and how might others learn more or get involved?
100 Black Men of Indianapolis, The Exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League, and the IPS Foundation are three local causes that I absolutely love. All of these organizations are making a positive impact on the lives of Hooisers across this city. You can check out each of their websites to find out how to donate or get involved as a volunteer.
Do you have a favorite local place in town (restaurant, bar, park, etc.) that you love going to? Where is it and why should other people try it out?
Hotel Tango has been one of my favorite places since I moved to Indy. It’s located in the Fletcher place neighborhood. I love HT because they locally distill all of their spirits in house, have the most creative bar tenders designing original cockatails, and its an inclusive space where anyone, regardless of idenitity, can feel truly welcomed. Whenever someone tells they’ve never been, I feel like it’s my civic duty to rectify this injustice.
Indianapolis is a sprawling county, what’s your favorite part about our city?
I love that Indy is a relational city. Almost everyone I’ve ever reached out to has been willing to grab coffee simply I asked and they wanted to be helpful. Because of this, I’ve been to develop so meaningful relationships here over the last few years.
If you were a superhero what would be your special trait? Why?
Teleportation. Sometimes I can be a bit impatient when it comes to standing in line or traveling long distances. I think it would be awesome to be able instantly teleport anywhere I wanted.
You’re hosting your own music festival with three artists – Who’s performing?
Beyonce, Rihanna and Doja Cat.
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?
Say So by Doja Cat. This song always puts me in a good mood. I think Doja is definitely an artist to watch because her stage presence is incredible. Check out her recent live perfomances on YouTube to see what I mean.
Mornings or evenings? And Why?
Evenings. Because the best things in life occur during the evening. Happy hours, prime time television, and surprise Beyonce album releases are just a few examples.
How do you define success?
I define success as discovering what you are truly passionate about and unapologetically pursing it simply because it makes you happy.
What would you name the autobiography of your life? Feel free to give us context here.
The Art of Shade. The autobiography would chronicle the development of my sense of humor throughout my life. Despite the hardships I’ve experienced, I’ve learned not to take life too seriously. I love joking with my friends and they call me shady because they have to think about the joke for a while just to realize that they’ve been had.