About: Eva Gankiewicz Merkel

Growing up in Indiana Harbor, I graduated from East Chicago Washington High School in 1980. After studying Biology and Chemistry at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, I started graduate school at the University of Chicago in 1983. While I loved working in the lab, I was a bit burned out on school. Thanks to the Indiana University School of Medicine, at both the Fort Wayne and Indianapolis campuses, I had a chance to use those skills as a research technician for a few years.

A drive to share my passion for science led me to teaching Biology and Chemistry at the high school level in both private and public schools. A desire to never stop learning led to MSEd, EdS, and EdD degrees from Indiana University. Great mentors who saw leadership potential in me launched opportunities as an assistant principal, principal, and superintendent. My educational career was highlighted by a lot of “firsts” – first female AP Chemistry teacher at one school, first female principal in three different schools. Those opportunities (and challenges) have helped me be a better leader and coach for others.

As I start my next phase in life, I’m hopeful I can continue to help others see their potential and be open to opportunities that come their way. Just because I won’t be reporting to an office each day, doesn’t mean I can’t continue to live my mission: To each day, live the legacies I will leave by: maintaining my integrity at all times; supporting what I believe through my actions; being present for all who need me; being my true self, understanding and analyzing the perceptions I create, and working to make who I am, who I think I am, and whom others think I am one and the same; and finding good in others, lessons in experiences, and enjoying the journey of life.

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