M. A. Rooney Foundation

Our mission is to ensure that ALL kids are reading at grade level

Committed to improving student achievement


M. A. Rooney


J. Patrick Rooney

Founded in 1969, the M. A. Rooney Foundation has been dedicated to charitable, educational, and religious programs that promote or provide educational opportunities and inter-racial justice, among other social and community assistance efforts.

Today, the Foundation is concentrating its efforts and resources on helping educators improve literacy and educational excellence in Indiana.

Through our partnerships with schools, community organizations and the Indiana Department of Education, we are providing educators with professional learning, strategic planning and a data management system to help them improve student achievement.

We operate in the spirit of “Teach a man to fish . . . .”

Therese Rooney

Following her graduation from Indiana State University as a CPA, Therese Rooney worked with Ernst & Ernst and American Art Clay before joining Golden Rule Insurance Company, the company founded by her grandparents. Within ten years, Therese became Executive Vice President. In 1990, she was named Chief Operation Officer, and served as President and CEO of Golden Rule Financial Corporation until her retirement in 2005.
Therese learned on a personal level about the lack of resources available to children with early reading difficulties while raising her own children. In the years since, she has continued to champion the cause to see that all Hoosier children are provided with the proper resources to achieve literacy. Therese also tutors students, one-on-one, using the Orton-Gillingham multisensory phonetic teaching approach for language and math.


LeeAnn Bricker

LeeAnn Bricker graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Speech and Business Communications. She worked for 18 years in Retail Management with a focus in training and coaching. Two of her children are dyslexic and struggled to learn how to read. Watching the success they had in overcoming their struggles through Orton-Gillingham (OG) tutoring led her to become an OG Trainer and student tutor. Seeing a need for families to connect, in 2011 she started the Indiana Dyslexia Parent Group.

Frank Fults

Frank’s twenty plus years of management and leadership bring a unique blend of technical, process, and project management skills to each of our educational partners. He works directly with educators to design and implement processes that provide principals and teachers the tools and analytics that maximize the use of existing data to improve student achievement. 

Throughout his career he has held senior level management positions at several Insurance companies as well as running a technology and management consulting firm. As a management consultant, he worked closely with business executives architecting, implementing and executing strategic technology solutions for solving business problems and moving companies forward. 

As Chief Information Officer at Golden Rule Insurance and a member of the executive management team, Frank demonstrated his ability to lead and execute business; technology and process improvement initiatives designed to optimize performance, improve efficiencies and grow the business. 

Robert Hochgesang
Robert worked in the insurance industry for eight years assisting corporate leadership in building data and analysis models for financial decision-making. He also created custom data solutions that use data warehouse and reporting technologies. A quick summary is, “provide the right numbers to the right people at the right time.” Robert has a Masters in Applied statistics from Purdue and a Bachelor’s in Economics from the University of Southern Indiana.

Sandra Hochgesang
Sandra assists the Foundation in providing reporting quality assurance. Her work experience includes seven years in accounting and auditing with much attention to detail. Sandra graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering in her children’s classrooms to help students with reading and math.

Jamey Peavler

Jamey worked in the public school system for nineteen years. She served as a Literacy Coach for the Indianapolis Public School District and pre-school teacher for Meridian Hills Cooperative Nursery School. In 2003 she had the opportunity to attend training on the Orton-Gillingham approach. This experience was formative in her belief that with appropriate instruction and support, it is possible to teach all students to read. Jamey supports classroom teachers and coaches in the implementation of a whole-class application of Orton-Gillingham instruction. 

Jamey currently serves on the board for Second Story, a non-profit organization with the mission of inspiring young writers and on the board of the Indiana Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

Ann Puckett Harpold

Ann Puckett-Harpold has enthusiastically served children in many capacities during her educational career including her work as an elementary school teacher, principal, central office administrator and college instructor. She had the opportunity to open the first Edison school in Indiana and has worked with schools and corporations across the United States and the United Kingdom. Ann P-H is passionate about supporting educators as they embrace opportunities to utilize available data to drive instruction. As an educational leader, she embraces four words: FOCUSED, CONSISTENT, INTENTIONAL, and RELENTLESS. Her expertise is in strategic proactive planning, professional development, and data based accountability that leads to increased student achievement.

Shannon Nicholson

Shannon attended Southern Illinois University. She worked as a District Manager for thirteen years at an off price retailer. She then obtained her childcare licensure from Indiana and operated her own childcare business. During this time she served as PTA president for five years. She helped to implement several parent-lead volunteer programs. Shannon most recently has served with AmeriCorps/United Way for two years as a reading tutor gaining experience and training with Orton-Gillingham instruction.

Barb Shuey

Barb comes to us with a rich background in educational leadership, including over 30 years as an elementary school principal, high school president and central office administrator. Most recently, she’s worked nationally with a professional learning company providing resources and services to districts in various reform initiatives. She knows student learning increases when schools and districts have focused and intentional leadership and believes strongly the journey begins with collaborative inquiry and the effective use of data. Barb is a graduate of Ball State and BUTLER University. 

Wanda Smith

Wanda has over 25 years in the insurance industry in the area of administration working with upper management. This includes supervising clerical staff and performing accounts payable and receivable functions.  A lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Wanda has enjoyed working in several environments over the years including: a non-profit, a chemical manufacturing company, retail at a discount store, and customer service at a vision center. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, sewing small quilts for charity, knitting hats for charity, and traveling.