Two area leaders named to Ivy Tech Kokomo Campus Board of Trustees

Mark Maple and Annette Russell serving three-year terms

Mark Maple and Annette Russell
New Ivy Tech Kokomo trustees

KOKOMO, Ind. — Two Kokomo area leaders have been named to the Ivy Tech Kokomo Campus Board of Trustees.

Mark Maple, an owner of Maple Farms in Howard County, and Annette Russell, president and CEO of Security Federal Savings Bank in Logansport, were appointed to three-year terms by Ivy Tech’s State Board of Trustees. Maple was appointed to represent agriculture and Russell was appointed as an at-large member on the seven-member board of the Kokomo service area, which includes Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties.

“We are very pleased Mark and Annette are serving on the Kokomo board of trustees,” said Dean McCurdy, chancellor of Ivy Tech Kokomo. “They bring a wealth of experience and community connections and their input is important as we work to better serve our students and meet the needs of the businesses and industries in the Kokomo service area.”

Members of Ivy Tech’s 18 campus boards have four essential responsibilities. These include analyzing educational needs and opportunities in the region, approving regional programming and recommending to the state board a plan to provide education and workforce development programs for the region, approving the region’s budget, and recommending methods for acquiring facilities and equipment needed to deliver regional programs.

Maple, a 1974 graduate of Taylor High School, started farming full-time on his family’s Maple Farms after he graduated from Purdue University with an associate degree in Agronomy in 1976. He is among the third and fourth generations of the Maple family who own the company that is known for specialty crop production, growing corn, soybeans, and wheat, as well as Maple Drainage custom tile ditching and custom excavation. His primary responsibilities include grain marketing, sprayer application, agronomy specialist, and grain system management. Maple also formed Maple Drainage and TMS Farms.

He and his wife, Marcia, live in Kokomo and are the parents of three children, Ryan, Lindsay, and Kyle. He is a member of Oakbrook Community Church and the Taylor Lions Club.

Russell joined Security Federal Savings Bank in 1991. A certified public account, she is a graduate of Logansport High School, Indiana University Kokomo, the Graduate School of Bank Investments and Financial Management, and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. She serves on the American Bankers Association Community Bankers Council and in 2017 was named chair of the board of the Indiana Bankers Association, the first woman in the association’s 120-year history to serve in the top leadership position.

Active in many charitable and civic organizations in Logansport and Cass County, she was honored with the Indiana University Kokomo Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006, was inducted into the IU Kokomo Alumni Hall of Fame in 2013, and was named Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year for 2007-08.

Russell and her husband, Steve, reside in Cass County.  Their children are Josh Russell and Holly Bridge.


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Rayl family honors late father with donation to Ivy Tech

Cyber Security Lab will be named in memory of Richard Rayl

David Rayl and Kyle Rayl on a recent hard-hat tour of Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Campus Transformation.

KOKOMO, Ind.  – Representing a family that has long supported Ivy Tech Community College, brothers David and Kyle Rayl are honoring the memory of their late father Richard Rayl with a donation to the massive project currently transforming the Kokomo Campus. Thanks to that gift, the new Cyber Security Lab/Computer Data Center in the Main Building will be named in Dick Rayl’s honor.

“It’s our intention to continue our father’s legacy by investing in projects that make our community stronger,” David said. “Kokomo is our home and we care about the opportunities that people have to succeed. We believe Ivy Tech is becoming one of the greatest assets in our community and that’s why we want to support its growth.”

David and Kyle are business partners and owners of Dick Rayl & Associates, a real estate development firm, and Soupley’s Wine & Spirits, carrying on the businesses founded by their late father. They have continued in his footsteps since Dick passed away Dec. 17, 2006.

“If our father was here today, he would support this project,” Kyle said. “He taught us to give back and invest in our community. We are happy to support this project by making possible the new Cyber Security Lab and Computer Data Center in his honor.”

The Rayl family’s history of partnering with Ivy Tech began in 2005 when Ivy Tech Foundation purchased the former EDS building from the Development Group of Kokomo Inc. The building, located southeast of the main campus at Touby Pike and Trialon Court, was purchased in a bargain sale transaction that equated to a $500,000 gift to the College. Dick Rayl was the secretary of the Development Group of Kokomo Inc. It was Chancellor Steve Daily’s vision that the building would one day be included in a new, comprehensive, connected campus footprint. That vision is becoming a reality in the Kokomo Campus Transformation as the old EDS building will become the new home of the agriculture and automotive programs.

In 2010, David and Kyle established the Richard “Dick” Rayl Memorial Scholarship fund during the Ivy Tech “Building Communities. Changing Lives.” Campaign. This scholarship has been awarded since 2011 to a Howard County student majoring in business. The brothers have continued to build the fund in their father’s memory and now two or three Howard County students receive the scholarship annually.

“The opportunities students have at Ivy Tech expand their horizons, allowing them to see the world in new ways, to dream bigger, and to achieve those dreams,” David said. “We are counting on talented graduates to fill the growing needs of area employers.”

Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource development for Ivy Tech Kokomo, expressed the College’s gratitude for the Rayl family’s continued investment in the Kokomo community. “Theirs is an important contribution toward our goal of $3 million in community support to complete this historic $43 million campus transformation,” Karickhoff said. To find out how you can be part of this future, contact Karickhoff at or 765-252-5501.



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Cyber Security a hot program offering an exciting future

Ivy Tech Kokomo students will learn on newest hardware technology

Kyle Rayl and David Rayl stand outside the new Richard “Dick” Rayl Cyber Security Lab/Computer Data Center in the Ivy Tech Kokomo Main Building. A large observation window illuminated by changing colored lights will bring attention to the space as students and visitors pass down the hallway.

Ivy Tech’s Cyber Security and Information Assurance program prepares students to work in areas related to information assurance, network and computer security.  The Kokomo transformation project includes an ultramodern cybersecurity lab outfitted with the newest hardware technology that will allow students to develop their security and networking skills.

“It’s vital for our students to have the tools necessary to understand cybersecurity content,” said Robyn Schmidt, department chair for Cybersecurity at Ivy Tech Kokomo. “This new lab will give them the confidence they need through hands-on learning to secure a technical job.”

The growth in cyberwarfare, IoT (Internet of Things), artificial intelligence, and the Cloud have increased the need for cybersecurity employees. Sally Vyain, dean of the School of Information Technology, said, “With cyber-attacks happening approximately every 39 seconds, Ivy Tech needs to help in producing strong cybersecurity students to align with our workforce.”

Ivy Tech students can study to receive industry certifications, certificates, technical certificates, and associate degrees to prepare for jobs with an average starting salary of close to $40 per hour.

For more information on the cybersecurity program, contact Robyn Schmidt at 765-459-0561 or .

Fun facts about Ivy Tech Kokomo’s Cyber Security Classroom:

  • Ivy Tech’s cyber security program is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the United States Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency (NSA).
  • The Cyber Security Lab provides hands-on learning with industry equipment. It includes more than 75 Cisco networking and security devices for students to learn and practice the skills necessary for jobs in the cyber security field. (Cisco devices account for more than 54 percent of the market share in the global networking industry.)
  • The data center is equipped with a raised floor. Installing the electrical and networking cabling installed below the floor allows for flexible design and redesign as well as optimal cooling and protection for the system.


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First Farmers adding finishing touch to Ivy Tech main building

Donation makes possible a new portal to higher education in Kokomo area

Members of the leadership team from First Farmers Bank &Trust recently had a chance to see first-hand the progress in the transformation of Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Campus, including the main entrance whose reconstruction is being funded by a generous donation from the bank.

KOKOMO, Ind.  – First Farmers Bank & Trust has been a longtime partner of Ivy Tech Community College. First Farmers and Ivy Tech share the same footprint … and serve the same communities. In fact, for several years Ivy Tech has shared space in the First Farmers building on the Kokomo courthouse square.

First Farmers President Gene Miles and his leadership team members know 80 percent of Ivy Tech students qualify for some type of financial aid. They know Ivy Tech certificates and degrees are an important key to improving the quality of life throughout the communities both organizations serve, communities like Kokomo and Logansport and Peru.

And with the #KOKOMOCAMPUSTRANSFORMATION under way, Miles and his team knew they wanted to do something to honor the work being done to change lives at Ivy Tech Kokomo. Thanks to their generosity, an eye-catching new entrance to the campus’ renovated main building is under construction.

“The main entrance to a facility like this is very important both functionally and symbolically,” Miles said. “It is the literal gateway to a better future through education, training, and collective communication.” He said he is proud his bank will be part of that portal through which every student in the Kokomo Service Area will, during their time with Ivy Tech, find a host of student services from advising to registration, financial aid to student records, classroom instruction to testing services.

Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource development for Ivy Tech Kokomo, noted that transformation of the main building entrance was one of many items on the “alternates list” for the $43 million Kokomo campus transformation now under way. While the nuts and bolts of the massive project are covered by $40 million appropriated by the State of Indiana, Karickhoff said the “alternates list” includes many additional amenities that will add to the quality of the new campus experience.

Through donations to Ivy Tech’s $3 million capital campaign, area individuals, organizations, and businesses are ticking off those “alternates” to complete the project, she said. Thanks to First Farmers, the main building’s reconstructed façade will match the Health Professions Center being built across the new “quad,” adding to the “real campus” feel.

The contribution epitomizes First Farmers’ commitment to its communities.

“Partnership in the Ivy Tech project represents a portion of the continued bank commitment to engage in local educational efforts in all of our respective markets,” said Tade Powell, senior vice president of communications for First Farmers. “Cooperative planning, support, and coordination in these areas directly impact workforce development and talent availability.”

The bank, which traces its history back to 1885, now serves over 60,000 clients throughout Indiana and Illinois from 35 offices and has become one of the premier community banks in the Midwest.

With more than 400 employees and over $1.8 billion in assets, the bank has come a long way from its origins. Its leadership is looking forward – with Ivy Tech Kokomo as a partner in the future of north central Indiana.

To find out more about this project, contact Karickhoff at or 765-252-5501.

(For photo above: First Farmers and Ivy Tech leadership who joined in the tour included, from left to right, Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource management for Ivy Tech Kokomo; Tade Powell, senior vice president and director of communications and public relations; Gene Miles, president and CEO; Tara Beverly, banking center manager; Mark Holt, senior consumer lending executive; Jessica Rolph, vice president and director of marketing and advertising; Cary Mawbey, senior vice president and chief commercial lending officer; Mark Miles, director of mortgage operations; Karen McLean of NIPSCO, chair of the capital campaign committee; and Ivy Tech Chancellor Dean McCurdy.)

(Architect’s rendering)

Ivy Tech’s Main Building, which will sport this new façade and entrance courtesy of First Farmers Bank & Trust, is home to a multitude of support services and educational opportunities for students at the College’s Kokomo Campus. It’s a “one-stop shop” to meet needs from application to graduation.

Once students and visitors pass through that portal, they will find the Express Enrollment Center, the advising and student support center, disability services, testing services, the business office, the registrar’s office, the Learning Resource Center (library and tutoring offices), the bookstore, and the Thomas Student Commons. The building is also home to science laboratories, classrooms, the information technology/computer labs, specialized facilities for early childhood education and visual communications, and administrative and faculty offices and is connected by a short walk to the student activities building to the west.

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Ivy Tech Kokomo selected for national program to promote student success

Kokomo native Tashona Jones joins Ivy Tech to lead program

Tashona Jones to lead SUCCESS initiative at Ivy Tech Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind.  – Kokomo native Tashona Jones has been named director of Student Success and Retention at Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo and will be directing the implementation of Scaling Up Community College Efforts for Student Success (SUCCESS), a new initiative developed by research organization MDRC with support from Arnold Ventures and Lumina Foundation aimed at boosting the graduation rates for traditionally underserved students.

Ivy Tech Kokomo is one of three Ivy Tech campuses and six other colleges spread across California, New Jersey, and Ohio that will participate in SUCCESS. The program aims to create financially sustainable programs that dramatically improve graduation rates and that can be brought to scale within institutions and throughout states to increase educational attainment across the United States. Ivy Tech Kokomo will receive a $120,000 grant to support the project.

As the director of the new Success and Retention office, Jones will be working with students throughout Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area, which includes Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties with campuses or instructional sites in Kokomo, Logansport, and Peru. Her mission is to help students connect with resources in the College and the communities it serves to address any barriers in the way of their educational success.

“I want to help students navigate their way in higher education,” said Jones, who comes into her new role from working for the last four years as a life coach at the Excel Center in Kokomo. “I have a passion for students who may be first-generation college students, ones who don’t have family members who understand the system. My goal is to ease that anxiety – through workshops, seminars, advising, and bringing similar students together so they know they aren’t the only ones going through this and can support each other.”

Jones is starting recruitment efforts to select the first group of 60 students this fall to participate in the SUCCESS program. Participants will be selected based on specific criteria and will have additional support, including working with a “success coach” twice a month.

Under the grant, SUCCESS programs are being built around elements developed over more than 15 years of postsecondary research conducted by MDRC and others. These program components include frequent proactive advising, financial incentives tied to participation, strategies focused on increasing academic momentum (like requiring full-time enrollment), and the use of real-time data to support student progress. States and institutions may focus on specific student populations, such as low-income students, under-represented minorities, or adults. By sharing the results and providing additional technical assistance, MDRC will support the expansion of SUCCESS within and beyond these initial states and colleges.

Jones, a 1997 graduate of Kokomo High School, has served for the last two years as an adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Kokomo, where she teaches sociology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2006, a master’s degree in Student Development Counseling and Administration from Indiana Wesleyan in 2013, and a Certified Business Professional credential from the International Business Training Association in 2016.

Her new job builds on a career helping students and their families succeed. As a life coach at the Excel Center from 2015 to 2019, she served high school students in a non-traditional setting. From 2013 to 2015, as family advocate/parent, family and community engagement manager at the Darrough Chapel Early Learning Center, she worked with preschool children, managing a caseload of 80 Headstart families. Earlier in her career she served as coordinator of campus diversity at Indiana University Kokomo and director of education at City of Refuge Church of God in Christ.

“We are excited to have someone with such experience and knowledge of our community to take the lead on this important project and on our service area’s efforts to help students stay in school and complete the credentials they are seeking,” said Theresa Murphy, vice chancellor for Student Success at Ivy Tech Kokomo. “By helping our students succeed in their academic pursuits, Ivy Tech will also support the State of Indiana’s goal of increasing the number of Hoosiers with the education and credentials needed to be successful in the 21st Century economy.

“Like the other schools participating in SUCCESS, we will be testing the idea that intentional coaching and financial incentives will positively impact retention and success,” she continued. “We hope to develop programs here in the Kokomo Service Area that can serve as models for other community colleges across the nation.”

For more information on this initiative at Ivy Tech Kokomo, contact Jones at or 765-252-5463.


Background on MDRC:

MDRC, founded in 1974 by the Ford Foundation and a group of federal agencies, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization based in New York City and Oakland, Calif. MDRC mounts large-scale demonstrations and uses randomized controlled trials to measure the effects of social and educational policy initiatives. MDRC has worked in nearly every state and most major cities, in Canada, and in the United Kingdom with funding by government agencies and some 70 private, family, and corporate foundations. With a staff of more than 250 in New York City and Oakland, California, MDRC is engaged in close to 80 projects in five policy areas: Families and Children; K-12 Education; Postsecondary Education; Youth Development, Criminal Justice, & Employment; and Low-Wage Workers and Communities.

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Community members invited to kick-off of new bachelor’s degree in Logansport

Ivy Tech, Indiana Tech to celebrate new partnership at Ivy Tech

Indiana Tech and Ivy Tech Community College are partnering to offer bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration at Ivy Tech’s campus just off the Hoosier Heartland Highway (U.S. 24) on Logansport’s southside.

LOGANSPORT, Ind.  – Interested community members are invited to the Logansport campus of Ivy Tech Community College from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 17, to learn more about a new partnership that will allow students to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree without leaving the community.

The event will kick off a new partnership between Ivy Tech and Fort Wayne-based Indiana Tech that can lead to a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at Ivy Tech’s state-of-the-art instructional site in Logansport. Indiana Tech will begin offering courses this fall as part of Ivy Tech Logansport’s new “University Center.”

Representatives of both schools will be on hand to discuss how this joint degree program will benefit the people, businesses, and communities of north central Indiana. The event, on the Ivy Tech Logansport campus at 1 Ivy Tech Way just off the Hoosier Heartland Highway (U.S. 24) on Logansport’s southside, is open to the public.

For more information on the Ivy Tech-Indiana Tech partnership and how to enroll for fall classes, contact Kevin Bostic, Ivy Tech Logansport site director, at 574-398-6083 or or Jeri Burkhart, Indiana Tech director of admissions, 574-268-9707, ext. 4710, or


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Ivy Tech Community College – Kokomo Region

Notice is hereby given that at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, 2019, at Ivy Tech Community College –Kokomo, Main Building, Room M214, 1815 E Morgan Street, Kokomo, Indiana, the Board of Trustees of Ivy Tech Community College – Kokomo Region will meet in regular session to conduct business in accordance with the published agenda.

Dated this 8th day of July 2019.

Dr. Tom McKaig, Chairman

Campus Board of Trustees



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