A year ago, Jeff Greenley was working as a lawyer in the Ohio attorney general’s office. Now, he and his wife and two children live in southeastern Ohio for his new job as Director of Human Resources for the Switzerland of Ohio local school district located in the heart of Appalachia. Greenley is one of 32 graduates from the first class of Bright New Leaders for Ohio Schools, a program for mid-career professionals with a desire to change careers and use their skills to help struggling school districts throughout the state. “As an attorney, you get to advise. I was looking to become a leader,” Greenley said, adding that he and his wife “both felt we wanted to come out and fill the mission of Bright to help kids in impoverished districts succeed.”
Following an intensive year of classes, in-school training and mentoring, all 32 have earned an MBA from the OSU Fisher College of Business and a school principal’s license from the Ohio Department of Education; and nearly all are now working in challenged school districts throughout the state including local districts like Whitehall and the Columbus Public Schools. Most of the Bright fellows did not have an education background but had worked for large corporations, law firms, state government or the military. Richard Stoff, president and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable, which spearheaded the program, said the goal is to close achievement gaps among students by bringing strong leadership into some of Ohio’s most challenged districts. “We believe leadership is the key ingredient and strong leaders, whatever their backgrounds, can be effective in a number of settings.”
Aneesa Locke-Hines, 38, is a new assistant principal at Columbus’ Linden McKinley High School after leaving her job as assistant deputy director of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. In working closely with one student who was acting out at school, she learned that the underlying problem was that this student often had nowhere to live because her mother could not care for her. “We have to get them to a place where they can learn. We have to serve the whole child.” She sees her job as supporting students and teachers so they can be great. “I had moments where I thought this is a lot of work and its hard, but there wasn’t a moment I regretted. As tough as those days were, there was always a moment when a kid rejuvenates you.”
Maybe you or someone you know is ready to change careers and find the kind of rewarding work that Jeff and Aneesa have found. You can check out Bright New Leaders by clicking here. Helping others in need is always a great pathway to joy and fulfillment!