Stephanie Shaw: Using Business Acumen to Drive Change in Education

It was never a question of if Stephanie Shaw would attend college. She always knew she would. A first-generation college student, she had to rely heavily on her extended family members, friends, and teachers who had attended college to lead her in the right direction.

“I have been very, very fortunate to have educators in my life. I always had that extra outside support system telling me that I could achieve anything I set my sights on, including a college education. My family, educators and mentors always made me understand that college signified much more than walking across that graduation stage and accepting a piece of paper: it meant greater financial, personal and social mobility. That’s why I’ve always been so passionate about helping others receive the same support structure that benefited me.”

Stephanie completed her undergraduate degree at Youngstown State University, and earned a master’s degree in organizational communication from Northeastern and a certification in finance from Cornell University. Her dreams of going to college went beyond the traditional four-year route and led to her founding an organization focused on preparing students for post-secondary education.

Stephanie began her career as a corporate communications strategist and business development manager at a telecommunications company working through complex communications issues. She worked with numerous stakeholders, including public and private organizations, nonprofits and leaders in the community during her time in corporate communications, which honed her skills building partnerships. Never losing her passion for education, Stephanie sought to use her business skills to help others find their path to college.

In 2010, Stephanie founded the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership, a 501 (c)(3) organization ensuring student success, cradle-to-career, with emphasis on early childhood education, third grade reading, eighth grade mathematics, and college and career readiness.

In her role as executive director for the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership, Stephanie works with educational leaders across the country and collaborates with schools, business, government, and other local agencies to leverage cross-sector partnerships that improve kindergarten readiness; early grade reading; middle-grade math skills; and postsecondary readiness for all students.

“When I saw that there was an opportunity to merge the business world with the education world by bringing ideas like six sigma management and using data to drive change, I wanted to become engaged.”