Alumni and Friends

Lindsay McNeal puts Ohio University degree to work as principal at Greenfield Elementary School

Lindsay McNeal always knew she wanted to be a teacher and she knew she wanted to find her future in her own community. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education at Ohio University Chillicothe, she felt well-prepared to enter the teaching profession. McNeal now serves as principal at Greenfield Elementary School after spending several years preparing for that role as the assistant principal.  

McNeal graduated from Ohio University's Patton College of Education in June 2012 and accepted her first job as a kindergarten teacher at Greenfield Exempted Village Schools, her hometown school district, the following month.

McNeal returns to her alma mater regularly to participate in mock teacher interviews for teacher candidates and now as a member of the new Education Advisory Committee. 

"We are very proud to call Lindsay McNeal one of our own,” said Associate Professor Karen Corcoran. “She was an outstanding teacher candidate during her time at OHIO Chillicothe and she quickly became a compassionate skilled teacher, making a difference in the lives of her students.”

Choosing local

McNeal chose Ohio University Chillicothe for its affordable cost and proximity to home. She said OHIO Chillicothe allowed her to complete clinical hours in local districts, providing her with valuable experiences and potential career opportunities upon graduation. 

Her strong connection with the Greenfield Local School District, cultivated through opportunities OHIO Chillicothe facilitated, played a crucial role in her swift post-graduation employment.

“My advisors at Ohio University Chillicothe understood my strong connection with my hometown,” McNeal said. “They allowed me to observe within the district multiple times, and I also completed my student teaching within the same district. By allowing me to practice my skills within the district, OHIO Chillicothe allowed me to be observed and mentored by my first boss. Because of the opportunities OHIO Chillicothe provided I was hired one month after graduation.” 

Transition to school administration

When McNeal decided to pursue a master's degree after several years in the classroom, a conversation with her principal, Bob Schumm, prompted her to consider her long-term goals. This reflection led McNeal to the conclusion that she wanted to be a principal, a role she believed would enable her to positively impact more students in her community. A master’s degree from Concordia University and Schumm’s mentorship helped McNeal prepare for her role as assistant principal and now principal.   

As the principal of Greenfield Elementary School, McNeal handles a diverse range of responsibilities every day. Her days feature meetings with teachers, classroom visits, providing feedback to staff, engaging with families and community members, and, most importantly, interacting with students.

McNeal said the most rewarding part of her job is getting to see the students and teachers in her building learn new things and feel successful and accomplished.

“I don’t know of many other careers that allow someone to positively impact the lives of so many,” she said.

Building on a foundation of support

McNeal said the group of people in her early childhood education cohort at Ohio University Chillicothe became like family, creating connections that have lasted long past graduation.  

Reflecting on her time at OHIO Chillicothe, McNeal recalls that like many other colleges and universities, Ohio University was transitioning from quarters to semesters. She said she and her cohort were encouraged to work hard to graduate before that transition occurred so she and other students in her cohort took heavy courseloads in their final quarter before student teaching.  

“Although that was a very difficult time, my cohort family pushed through together,” McNeal said. “We encouraged each other, vented to each other, and gave each other the strength to complete what we felt would be close to impossible. To this day, I know I could call anyone from the cohort, and they would support me in any way I need. We are connected through our college experience for life!”

McNeal's fondest memories from OHIO Chillicothe feature the time spent with that group of friends and classmates. They were always together, sharing meals between classes, studying together in the library, and ultimately celebrating graduation together. 

“I smile just thinking of how much fun it was to go through school with them!”

McNeal found her confidence and passion during her first early childhood education class at OHIO Chillicothe. She credits OHIO Chillicothe for aligning coursework with practical needs and providing ongoing support. Her advisor and professor Jamie Harmount played a pivotal role in guiding her through college and remains a source of inspiration for her.

“She provided clarity in moments I felt unsure and supported me every step of the way,” McNeal said. “I am still in contact with her and speak with her often. Her love for teaching and learning radiates through every conversation!” 

McNeal said she felt prepared for her career as an educator not only because her coursework prepared her well for her role as a teacher, but also because she knew if she needed extra support, she could still reach out to her advisor or a professor for guidance after she began her career.

“I felt supported,” McNeal explained. 

McNeal advises students aspiring to become educators to be observant and learn from everyone. 

“Every opportunity you have to learn will shape who you become,” she said. “Connect with a successful, positive role model, and learn from them!” 

December 18, 2023
Staff reports