Office of Academic Affairs
Dr. Jeffrey L. Smith
Director of Academic Affairs
Ph.D. – University of Oklahoma
M.S., B.S. – Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
Office: WA 172
Dr. Smith became the Director of Academic Affairs in July 2014 after holding the position of Associate Director since 2001. He is responsible for the oversight of all things “Academic” at the Indiana Academy which includes the Guidance Office, the CCCC office, Attendance office, and Outreach department. He oversees the performance evaluations for all faculty and is in charge of the Academy’s curriculum.
Dr. Smith has been a consultant for College Board for AP Biology since 1996. He participates in the essay exam reading each year and has held various leadership positions such as Question Leader and Table Leader. Dr. Smith teaches one-day AP Biology workshops for teachers as well as several AP Summer Institutes. He was part of the team that developed portions of the new AP Biology curriculum that launched in the Fall of 2012.
Dr. Smith is a leading expert on African violets. He and students at the Indiana Academy have received grants and published several articles on the genetics, biochemistry, and taxonomy of these plants. Several of his hybrids have been released to the public for commercial sale. Dr. Smith has authored a chapter on hybridizing African violets that was published in “Breeding Ornamental Plants” from Timber Press.
Dr. Smith has received several teaching awards, including: the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Gold Medal, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the Outstanding Biology Teacher for the state of Indiana, and the Tandy Scholar Award from RadioShack.
Dr. Dain Kavars
Associate Director of Academic Affairs
Assistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D. – University of Minnesota
B.S. – University of Iowa
Office: EL 021
Dr. Kavars teaches the Solar System Astronomy and Galactic Astronomy classes at the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities. He received his B.S. degree in 2001 from the University of Iowa with honors in Physics and Astronomy. He completed his Ph.D. degree in Astrophysics from the University of Minnesota in 2006. Prior to arriving at the Indiana Academy in the fall of 2006, he taught astronomy classes at the University of Minnesota and Inver Hills Community College near Minneapolis, MN. As a graduate student, his research focused on radio astronomy where he used one of the world’s largest radio telescopes, the Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, WV.
In the fall of 2015 Dr. Kavars became the Associate Director of Academic Affairs at the Indiana Academy. His primary duties include working with parents and students to create and implement 504 and IEP special education plans, overseeing attendance, advising international students, overseeing May Term trips, and continuing to teach the Academy’s astronomy classes. During his tenure at the Indiana Academy, Dr. Kavars has attended and presented at several education conferences including the Hoosier Association for Science Teachers Inc., National Science Teachers Association, Indiana Associated for the Gifted, AdvancED Indiana, and Ball State University Teachers College Best Practices in Education conferences.
In his free time Dr. Kavars enjoys geocaching, gardening, reading/watching science fiction and fantasy books/movies, traveling, and in particular, spending time with his family. In recent years he and his family have explored the world outside of the United States, traveling to Canada, Iceland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. In the near future he hopes to explore Scotland, England, New Zealand, and Australia, although his daughters are doing their best to convince him a trip to Hawaii must happen soon.
Administrative Coordinator – Academic Affairs
B.S. – Ball State University
Office: WA 170
After receiving her degree in Office Administration and Administrative Support, Mrs. Manship came to the Indiana Academy to serve as the Assistant to the Director of Academic Affairs in June of 1993. In addition to her duties assisting the Director of Academic Affairs, Mrs. Manship is responsible for handling all Academic Life budget and textbook concerns, fees, ordering materials, completion of state departmental reports, and assisting with the administration of the computerized school system in use here at the Academy. In addition to Mrs. Manship’s administrative work, she attends computer technology and office management conferences and workshops throughout the year to further her knowledge.
Office: WA 156
Renee came to the Indiana Academy in August 2006 as the Faculty/Attendance Secretary. Prior to the Indiana Academy Renee worked for the Jay County School Corporation. Mrs. Drumm has been married for 25 years and has three children.
M.A. – Ball State University
B.S. – Pillsbury College
Office: WA 274
Mr. Stassen is LAN Manager and Coordinator of Technology, and came to the Academy in 1994 after 10 years in the private sector as the owner of a computer consulting company. In his present position, he is responsible for maintaining, upgrading, and training on several hundred PC and Macintosh computers, which are connected to eight file servers using the Novell, Windows NT, or UNIX operating systems. Mr. Stassen enjoys biking and other sports.