Jeff Greenley on stage with flag to his left speaking at a meeting

Meet Jeff Greenley (MBA ’16), a former assistant attorney general and National Guard judge advocate in Ohio. Jeff shares his experience as a member of the first BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools cohort and his transformation from a leader in law to becoming superintendent of Belpre (Ohio) City Schools.

In a few sentences, describe your current position, roles and responsibilities.

After graduating from BRIGHT, I first served as director of human resources of Switzerland of Ohio, which was the school district I was assigned to for the internship year. About five months after taking that position, I was asked to serve as superintendent. I had the pleasure of serving Switzerland as superintendent for about two years before I transitioned into my current role as superintendent of Belpre City Schools.

What are one or two of your most significant accomplishments in education?

I am very proud of the academic gains that our district was able to accomplish at Switzerland of Ohio Local Schools. Our entire district collaborated closely to raise the rigor in the district and boost student achievement. As a result of our efforts, we were able to raise end-of-course proficient scores by 25%. One school was named a 2019 School of Honor for High Progress, and two others received Ohio Momentum Awards for exceeding growth expectations.

In Belpre, we passed our Portrait of a Graduate about three years ago and have really worked hard to redefine how we approach teaching and learning. Our teachers have been working hard to reimagine content delivery and assessment all while making the case to our community for the need of a 21st-century building.

Why did you choose to apply to become a BRIGHT Fellow?

I wanted to learn how to be a leader and make a difference in the lives of teachers and students.

Beyond bringing you into the public education space, how has BRIGHT prepared you or made a difference in your career?

The training we received as fellows was unprecedented. I have drawn from all the work we did at Ohio State more than I ever thought I would. But more than just the coursework, the network of BRIGHT fellows has been a tremendous group to be a part of. We still communicate frequently, and their advice and counsel over the years have supported me in my leadership journey.

What piece of advice, strategy or tactic, learned as part of the BRIGHT program, do you still utilize today?

I use the work we did around strategy and change management. A few professors totally changed the lenses that I use to approach the work and helped me learn how to analyze and think carefully through problems and positioning, as well as how to be strategic and purposeful in how we approach changing systems. I remember being told “The most important thing isn’t what new thing you’re going to do, but what you are going to stop doing to give you time and focus for the new initiative.” I’ve referenced that quote at least weekly ever since!

How did your BRIGHT experience prepare/equip you to manage the disruption of the past two years within public education?

The rigor of the BRIGHT experience helps prepare you for the hard reality of leading a public school system. It gave me the perspective, grit, expertise and network that I have needed to push through.

What advice would you give to someone considering the BRIGHT program?

Take the risk. I remember really considering BRIGHT before I left a very stable position in an industry that I loved. I have seen an incredible return-on-investment from my decision to join the program in every aspect of my personal life and in the impact I have had in my community.

What do you think differentiates a Bright Fellow from other leaders in education?

The BRIGHT fellows I have worked with just have a unique combination of true heart and a commitment to kids, as well as strategic thinking and drive.

Finish this sentence: “Graduating from the BRIGHT program meant….”

… that I was able to make more of a difference than I ever thought possible in the lives of children and teachers.”

What’s the most challenging thing about leading in this space?

Juggling all of the day-to-day responsibilities of the position against the long-term strategic goals and initiatives you are trying to make real.

What are some of the most rewarding things about leading in this space?

I don’t think there is another place in which you can have more impact than in public education. You directly help students, teachers, parents, community members, businesses, etc. through the work. It’s humbling, rewarding and invigorating.

Photo courtesy of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

What is BRIGHT?

The BRIGHT initiative is a unique partnership between Fisher College of Business and the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Its mission is to provide leaders in K-12 education with unparalleled training from a distinct perspective.

Learn more about BRIGHT