Mallory Claypool, a 2012 graduate of Ivy Tech Kokomo’s Education program who now serves as director of the Lewis Cass Polytechnic Academy in Galveston, is being honored with the Ivy Tech Community College Distinguished Alumni Award for the College’s Kokomo Service Area.
Each year, Ivy Tech Kokomo Service honors a graduate who exemplifies an appreciation of lifelong learning, a dedication to work, and a commitment to community. Claypool will be honored Thursday, Sept. 29, at a ceremony in Indianapolis that will recognize award winners from Ivy Tech’s 19 campuses around the state.
“Ivy Tech Kokomo is proud to call Mallory Claypool – teacher, husband, father, community volunteer, life-long learner – our 2022 Distinguished Alumnus,” said Ethan Heicher, interim chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area, which includes Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Pulaski and Tipton counties. “Through his efforts bringing together students, higher education and employers throughout north central Indiana, he is making tremendous contributions to our community.”
“Ivy Tech Kokomo is proud to call Mallory Claypool – teacher, husband, father, community volunteer, life-long learner – our 2022 Distinguished Alumnus, Through his efforts bringing together students, higher education and employers throughout north central Indiana, he is making tremendous contributions to our community.”
– Ethan Heicher, Chancellor of ivy Tech Kokomo
Claypool is in his fourth year as the director of Lewis Cass Polytechnic, a part of the Lewis Cass School Corporation devoted to preparing high school students for jobs of the future focused on science, engineering and math. It’s a job he loves with a passion and one where he changes students’ lives for the better every day. But go back 10 years or so and it’s hardly a job that he ever anticipated filling.
In those 10 years or so, Claypool became a “poster child” for the value of an Ivy Tech education in reimagining one’s life. In 2002, after almost 20 years in the food service industry, jobs that took him all over the country, he and wife Lori settled in Walton to raise their five children. Mallory made what he now describes as “kind of a radical decision.” He decided to return to college to become a math teacher.
He chose Ivy Tech Community College in Kokomo and, in 2012, the veteran restaurant manager graduated with his associate degree in Education. In 2015, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from WGU and started teaching math and industrial technology classes at Lewis Cass High School before moving to the new Polytechnic Academy. In the meantime, he has completed a master’s degree and nearly all his coursework for a Ph.D. in Technology, both at Purdue University.
Claypool credits Ivy Tech with providing the basis for his new life. “Getting that two-year degree versus waiting on a four-year reward probably made all the difference,” he said. “It was that milestone, a tangible result, that gave me the confidence to move on from there. Ivy Tech got me to a point I knew I could complete the next degree.”
He now partners with employers and schools across north central Indiana to expand the offerings of the Polytechnic Academy. This includes a partnership with Ivy Tech that allows students to complete a variety of dual credit classes that can move right into jobs or further education.
Claypool isn’t the only career-changing Ivy Tech alum in the family. His wife, Lori, also came back to Ivy Tech as an adult student, earning an associate degree in Early Childhood Education in 2011, the year before Mallory completed his first degree. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Trine University and completed her master’s degree in Social Work while Mallory completed his. She now is a family therapist working for Counseling Partners in Lafayette. Together, the Claypools have raised five children, all of whom have completed or are pursuing college degrees.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.