A Classical, Liberal Arts Education

The concept for Herron High School originated in 2003 under the leadership of Joanna Beatty Taft, Executive Director of the Harrison Center for the Arts. Recognizing the need for high quality, tuition-free public education located within the city’s urban neighborhoods, Ms. Taft brought together local residents, educators, non-profit organizations and business leaders to create an original structure for a classical, liberal arts education.

Herron High School’s founding board believed it was essential to bring the very best educators to the table during the development phase of the school. Beginning with Robert Marzano’s concept of designing curriculum “with the end in mind,” and guided by best practices in the classroom, the founders’ vision of a well educated, world class citizen helped define the rigorous curriculum, classical format and cultural foundation for the school. The development of the art history timeline as an organizational structure was a creative approach to the challenge of engaging students from diverse backgrounds.

From its inception, the vision for Herron High School was focused on the adaptive potential of the vacant former John Herron Art Institute campus. For many decades, these historically important buildings were the centerpiece of the art movement in Indianapolis. Herron High School’s founders believed the rebirth of the historic campus as a center of learning would provide an anchor for the community landscape and honor the heritage of the buildings.  Steeped in the cultural history of the city and imbued with the great creative talents of past generations, these buildings are once again host to a new generation of students.

True to the founders’ vision, and through the leadership of Janet H. McNeal, Head of School, Herron High School has rapidly become one of the top public high schools in the country. Designated a 4 Star School by the Indiana Department of Education, and placing in the top 5% of schools nationwide in rankings by Newsweek, U.S. News and the Washington Post, Herron High School provides an exemplary education.

In August 2017, Herron High School proudly opened its second campus, Riverside High School. The two schools formed Indianapolis Classical School, a community of two great schools. To learn about RHS, click here.