Editorials: Good fits for the role of JA’s presidency
Jan 29, 2014 | 520 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three days remain until Friday’s deadline for applicants wishing to be considered for the presidency of Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region, a widely respected nonprofit organization that partners with local school systems to prepare students for the future.

To borrow a theme from the Peace Corps, serving as president of this five-county initiative could become the toughest job you’ll ever love.

As it has done since its local charter in 1965, Junior Achievement supplements educational programming offered in our area’s public schools; however, most of the instruction revolves around preparation for life’s “real world.” Students are exposed to needs that exceed textbooks and academics.

JA’s curriculum includes objectives like workforce readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. To some degree, these areas are being explored by schools as they expand their outreach to provide a broader experience — especially in an evolving society where the business world is imploring education to look beyond “old school” techniques and to incorporate more tools geared toward the needs of today’s workplace and the unprecedented growth of technology.

Included in this are some basics like financial literacy — that is, a better understanding of handling money and budgets — and an improved familiarity with the business world.

But teachers have only so much time to dedicate away from the established parameters of textbook learning. And too, they are now being called upon to serve in so many different roles within their schools that real-world teaching is not as easy, nor as practical, as it might seem.

This points to the significance of partnerships with programs like Junior Achievement whose volunteer instructors enter classrooms to supplement the work of professional teachers.

In December, JA president Tracie McCartney — who excelled in the position for the past 1 1/2 years — made the difficult decision to resign her post in order to care for her newborn child. Her predecessor had been Sandy Moore whose retirement left the local nonprofit without its familiar face and voice.

Yet, McCartney stepped in and was handling the job in exemplary fashion, but family needs took precedent.

So now, the JA board of directors — another group whose tireless work is coordinated strictly through volunteerism — is seeking a new leader.

Some might wonder, who would be a potential candidate for this JA leadership position? It’s a wide open field, but let us list a few possibilities in no particular order of preference:

- Retired educators who miss the classroom and who would like to return to working with young people.

- Longtime business people or entrepreneurs who also might be retirees or who are looking for a change in scenery.

- Civic-minded residents who have a soft spot in their hearts for nonprofit work.

- Nonprofit veterans who are looking to move from one affiliation to a new one; for example, prior to joining Junior Achievement, McCartney had held positions with March of Dimes and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

- Nonprofit staff members in another arena who see the JA presidency as a vertical move in their careers.

- Anyone who is comfortable in leading community fundraisers or who is experienced in planning activities in a team approach.

- Any retiree who longs to remain active in community work and who can benefit from a full-time salary.

- Any longtime volunteer, either with Junior Achievement or another nonprofit organization, who would like to be paid for their hard work.

Other categories of workers are probably good fits. These are just a few we considered.

The point is this: Anyone interested in being considered for the JA presidency should remember Friday’s application deadline.

Applicants should mail, email or fax a resume, cover letter and salary requirements. Mailed documents should be sent to: President Hiring (Cleveland TN), One Education Way, Colorado Springs CO 80906. The fax number is 719-540-6172. The email address is csohiring@ja.org. The subject line should be tagged “Cleveland, TN.”

Questions should be directed to the new JA phone number at 423-614-8777. JA’s office is now located in the former Security building on the Cleveland State Community College campus on Adkisson Drive.

Junior Achievement’s mission remains as relevant as ever — the education of young minds and the preparation of young people for a changing future.