While working as a juvenile probation officer early in his career, a young Jeremy Batchelor saw firsthand the beneficial impact of education on the community he served. Over time, he felt drawn to the field, which eventually led him to the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership at Youngstown State University (YSU).
Batchelor knew he could build relationships with the individuals he worked with to help motivate them in education.
“Parents started inviting me as their probation officer to their IEP (Individual Education Program) meetings,” he said. “I started seeing a lot of my students weren’t going to school and, therefore, they weren’t having their needs met.”
Batchelor landed his first teaching position in North Carolina, where he met the woman who would become his wife. They are now both administrators and have three children.
“We were both new teachers and … we met at new teacher orientation. And then we had these monthly meetings, and we just hit it off from there,” he said.
After the family relocated to Ohio, he began working toward a master’s degree at YSU in 2010. Faculty members like the late Dr. Robert Beebe and Dr. Charles Vergon recognized his natural abilities and encouraged him.
“I was working as an assistant principal, and I got my master’s degree in administration from YSU. But some people saw some leadership skills in me and gave me opportunities to grow, and so I went into the doctoral program from there,” Batchelor said.
Taking Big Steps
The advanced degree gave the former college football player and basketball coach a range of tools to build on his inherent ability to inspire others.
“I got an education to teach and coach. I wasn’t looking for the administrative side. But then, once I got into it, I started enjoying it and grew into the role,” he added.
In the spring of 2019, Batchelor was named Administrator of the Year by the Ohio Alliance of Black School Educators and recognized for the positive culture he fostered for Youngstown East High School students and staff. He currently serves as chief of staff to the CEO of Youngstown City School District.
“I oversee all of our human capital needs as well as leadership in our district,” Batchelor said. “In Youngstown, we have about 5,100 students right now. But we also have more than a thousand employees, from teachers to administrators, to custodians and bus drivers.”
He credits Youngstown State University for preparing him to meet the demands of his current position, one that is challenging under normal circumstances but has been more intensive with the unprecedented issues that come with a pandemic and educating students remotely. He considers YSU’s instructors the program’s strength and found the courses on school law and superintendency useful for the practical knowledge they offered.
“Those courses will teach you how to manage an actual school setting or school district. The folks who are teaching those classes have been in the trenches. They understand the process from a practitioner’s lens,” he said.
The Batchelor family is a huddle of Penguins. Jeremy’s wife, Sukanya, is a master’s graduate of YSU. She also works in the district, supervising the application of special education across multiple campuses.
“My oldest daughter, MaShama, is a senior at YSU. My middle son, Joshua, is a junior at YSU. And then my youngest son, Isaiah, is a freshman,” Batchelor said.
The YSU online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program has equipped him with many skills, but he cites Dr. Phillip Latessa’s influence as vital to his understanding of the importance of creating campus schedules and how they benefit students.
“I have taken over a couple of schools that were the lowest-performing schools in the state and put procedures in place to increase their scores, increase school safety and decrease the amount of teacher turnover. Those have been things I’ve been focused on in my career over the last 10 years or so.
In addition, Batchelor appreciates being able to bounce ideas off one YSU faculty member in particular. “Dr. Vergon has always been a thought partner,” he said.
Batchelor has become a master of Zoom meetings this past year through his job and his YSU studies. He remains inspired by the promise of the students he oversees. While he will eventually complete his dissertation, the example he sets by dedicating himself to his students’ education is likely to leave a lasting impression on those he meets.
Learn more about YSU’s Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership online program.