The Founding of The Children’s House

Louise Brannon, the first Directress of the school, launched her long career in teaching when she opened and operated The Indianapolis Reading Clinic during the 1960’s. She continued her teaching experience at the Parrish Country Day School, with Martha Thurston, teaching both reading and math.

From this inspired endeavor, she joined with a group of devoted parents who would go on to form a board of directors, and move forward with the notion that there could be a different kind of school here in Indianapolis. This group, which included Dr. John Galloway, Dr. Bob Archer, and Dr. Manuel Debono, put Louise Brannon in place as the Directress. David Gillman acted as their attorney, and became Secretary of the Corporation. Jacque LeRoy rented them a property on West 39th. Street, off Knollton Road, where The Children’s House opened, incorporated as a not-for-profit school, in 1971. This was all made possible by the focused devotion of this group, and the help of a Lilly Endowment Grant.

Fifty years later, this school still thrives on the Northwest side of Indianapolis, in a building the school bought with its second matching Lilly Endowment Grant, made possible by the generous donations from hundreds of its alumni.


Mrs. Abee Louden

Math, Geography, and Theater, and Directress of School

Abigail Louden is an alumna of The Children’s House. “I loved going to school here, and worked as a camp counselor during the summers after I graduated.” After attending Cardinal Ritter High School, Abigail went on to major in Math and Education at Purdue University. She has taught math for the past 14 years, and has been at The Children’s House for a combined tenure in Math and Science since 2008. She also teaches Geography. Abigail is the Directress of the school.

Mr. Tristan Gilkey

Science, Latin, and US History

Tristan Gilkey has taught at The Children’s House since 2007. He currently teaches Latin (and Ancient Greek), Science, US History, and Phys Ed. He earned a BA in Classical Studies from Earlham College, and received an MA in English Literature and Linguistics from Indiana University, Indianapolis.

Mr. Jamey Faulkner

Music and Art

Jamey Faulkner started teaching Music at The Children’s House in 1999, the same year he started the Guitar Institute of Indianapolis. Mr. Faulkner holds a Bachelors of Music, Guitar Performance from California State University, Northridge, and a Master of Science, Music Technology from the Indiana University School of Music. Jamey's music and guitar coaching website is

Mrs. Sarah Brothers

Reading and Indiana History

Sarah Brothers discovered The Children’s House five years ago when she was looking for an alternative to a traditional kindergarten for her son. This year she was honored to join the staff, teaching Reading and Indiana History. Sarah graduated from The University of Louisville with a bachelor's in English and concentration in Creative Writing. She loves to read, write, run and hike. She thinks a perfect day is a long boat ride at the lake with her son, husband and Basset Hound Hank. Sarah also has a cat named Casper and an African side-neck turtle named Yoshi.

Mrs. Shenena Hadley


Shenena Hadley has been with The Children’s House since 2007, as the primary Preschool teacher. She started her love of teaching in 1996, while teaching her oldest daughter at a local preschool. Shenena has her Child Development Associate’s degree, and is a certified Montessori teacher. She enjoys having her two youngest children here at The Children’s House with her.

Sierra Hamm


Sierra is the co-teacher in the pre-school room, working with Mrs. Hadley. She has been at The Children’s House since 2018. She says her love for teaching began when she saw what a hard time her younger brother had in school. Miss Sierra organized and helped to implement our Health and Sex Education Classes this year. She is also part of our Summer Camp Program

Jennifer Strycker


Jennifer Strycker has been teaching yoga and mindfulness for 8 years. Her BA is from Central Michigan University. She went through Montessori teacher training in 2003 and taught in an infant/toddler classroom. She has been teaching with Indy Yoga Movement since 2017. Jennifer says, “I love working with the kids at The Children’s House and seeing them learn how to use yoga and mindfulness to be empowered and make a difference in their lives.”

Mrs. Mary Sexson

Office Manager, Substitute Teacher

Mary Sexson has been at The Children’s House since 1993. She taught Reading and Language Arts for 28 years. She is now semi-retired, and working at the school as the Office Manager, and substitute teacher (when needed). Mrs. Sexson is a writer, and has 2 collections of poetry published and a new collection to be published this year!