Cincinnati has a 53% childhood poverty rate, second in the nation behind Detroit. Every other child in our city doesn’t have enough food to eat, clothes to wear or a place to live. Our community knows the time is NOW to address this crisis.
“The more educated a city, the more robust its economy. The percentage of college graduates in a city's population accounts for 58% of a city's economic success, as measured by per capita income.”
–Joe Cortwright of CEOs for Cities, Certo, 2011
The end goal of Leadership Scholars is to increase the number of more highly educated individuals in our community, regardless of their socioeconomic background. Our "Parent Academy" program is one that all stakeholders agree on as important and valuable--school principals, the Cincinnati Public School Board, district leadership, the teacher’s union, and parents. The program has the potential to be a national model for parent engagement, student success, and reducing generational poverty.
Leadership Scholars ensures that both academic and life success are possible for ALL children, regardless of socioeconomic background through this unique approach. We focus on parents (or any dedicated significant adult in a child’s life) and emphasize two key areas of expertise to parents:
- College Readiness: practices centered on academic success
- Success Mindset: social and emotional behavioral strategies integral to navigating emotions and building relationships
According to many teachers and principals who have adopted the program, it is proving to be a powerful combination that builds relationships in the home, at school and in the community.
How do we do it? We equip parents with the knowledge and tools to “wake up” their brains and practice ways to help their children improve focus & learning, and instill self-awareness and esteem, tools rooted in proven “best-practice” research and in science—neuroplasticity.
Well beyond the critical academic skills, we teach them how to integrate meditation, mindfulness, grit (hard work), gratitude, optimism and empathy into daily living.
This "Success Mindset", is what enables children to concentrate and focus in school. Ultimately, these non-cognitives are what help strengthen the relationships between parents & their children, as well as relationships between students & teachers. They result in the ability to achieve the skills we know are required to prepare for, be accepted to and graduate college.
In 2003, Harry Santen and James Evans dreamed of developing a program that would inspire students to follow in the footsteps of a successful mentor as they discovered their strengths and were given the opportunity to become leaders in their school community. In February of 2007, they found other distinguished members of the Cincinnati community who shared their enthusiasm for educating students in leadership, including Dr. Patricia White, and H. Nick Ragland, III. They were the first members of the Leadership Scholars Board of Directors and were joined in the spring of 2008 by Jennifer G. Williams. In April of 2012, Thomas Williams and Robert Scallan also joined the Board.
On February 14, 2007, Leadership Scholars became an officially registered nonprofit corporation in the state of Ohio. The Board of Directors hired Tracy T. Moore, II as its first Executive Director and he served in that capacity until 2011. Under his direction the organization drew high school Leaders from Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Elder High School, Purcell Marian High School, Roger Bacon High School, Seton High School, and The Summit Country Day School, as well as elementary school Scholars from Armleder, St. Boniface, Corryville Catholic, St. Francis DeSales, St. Francis Seraph, Holy Family, St. Joseph, Prince of Peace, and Resurrection.
In January of 2012, Dr. Patricia White became Executive Director. In April of 2012, Dr. Suzanne White joined the staff. In the summer of 2013, they were joined by Brandt Smith and Sharon Frankart to further grow the Parent Academy and in-school mentors. Current initiatives include expanding the Parent Academy and increasing our impact in high schools.
James E. Evans, Chairman (Founding Member) – Senior Vice President and General Counsel, American Financial Group, Inc.
Robert D. Scallan, President – Partner, Pathway Guidance
Jacqueline Parker, Vice President/Secretary – Associate Director, Procter & Gamble
Jennifer G. Williams, Vice President – Community Advocate
Eric Ragland, Treasurer – Vice President of Finance, The Gorilla Glue Company
Thom Gerdes, PMC SMART Solutions
Chris MacConnell – President, Thomson MacConnell Cadillac, Inc.
Melissa Murphy – Community Advocate
Reverend Damon Lynch, Jr. – Pastor, New Jerusalem Baptist Church
Cate O’Brien, EdD – Regional Director, Catholic Inner-city Schools Education (CISE) Fund/Archdiocese of Cincinnati
H. Nicholas Ragland, III (Founding Member) – Chairman, Gorilla Glue Company, Inc.
Harry Santen (Founding Member) – Private Attorney, Attorney at Law
Julie Sellers – President, Cincinnati Federation of Teachers
Thomas Williams – President and Chief Executive Officer, North American Properties
Lynn Marmer – Group Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Kroger
Patricia White, EdD (Founding Member) – Executive Director, Leadership Scholars
Suzie White, PhD – Executive Vice President, Leadership Scholars
Funders & Corporate Donors
- The Mercy Health Foundation
- Catholic Inner-city Schools Education Fund (CISE)
- Shannon and Lee Carter Family Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
- The Joseph J. Schott Foundation
- Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation
- Harold C. Schott Foundation
- Charles H. Dater Foundation
- Ruth J. and Robert A. Conway Foundation, Inc.
- The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
- Wohlgemuth Herschede Foundation
- Mandare Foundation
- Marnick Foundation
- Best Buy Children’s Foundation
- Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati
- Cincinnati International Wine Festival
- The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati
- The Williams Family Foundation
- The James Evans Foundation
- Scallan Family Foundation
- The Gorilla Glue Company
- Jack J. Smith Charitable Trust
- The Farmer Family Foundation
- The Mathile Family Foundation
- The Richard H. Sutphin Family Foundation
- The Western and Southern Financial Fund
- William Albers Foundation
- Thomson-MacConnell Cadillac Inc.
- Friedlander Family Fund
- Gardner Family Foundation
- Wyler Family Foundation
- Anonymous Foundation
- United Way of Greater Cincinnati
- Cushman & Wakefield
- Thomson MacConnell Cadillac
- Gorilla Glue
- Mercy Health Foundation
- Xavier University
- Steve Fish