Partner Profile: Shelly Saltzman
Partner Profile: Shelly Saltzman
This month, we checked in with Shelly as she prepares to open the Citizens Leadership Academy in August. A cyclist and foodie, Shelly is a resolute educator and an engaged civic leader.
With Citizens Leadership Academy opening in August, what are your goals for the school?
Overall, CLA will add a choice of a high quality middle school for students in the Cleveland Area and surrounding suburbs. Our mission is to create leaders and prepare middle school students to be civically engaged.
How do you plan on doing that?
We’ll be the first school in Northeast Ohio to use “expeditionary learning”, giving students opportunities to learn out of the classroom and in the community. And when they are “in the classroom”, we’ll invite community experts to mentor and teach, keeping students connected. Through expeditionary learning, they'll apply their foundational skills in engaging, relevant experiences, and through their engagement they’ll be more likely to succeed in high school and college
Being in University Circle is also great. We’re very grateful for the help of University Circle United Methodist Church who are renting us the space. Our students will have easy access to all of the local museums and civic institutions with which we can partner.
If everything runs perfectly smoothly, what will CLA look like in a year?
Absolutely perfectly? We have three big goals for the first year:
- By the end of the first year, all of our students will have been involved in two community projects- not just observing but participating.
-We’ll be teaching a results-oriented curriculum – we’ll be preparing students for college, and they’ll do very well on the Ohio Academic Assessments.
-We have our three norms to follow: be responsible, be respectful, and be safe. We want our students to follow those, and actively build a strong school community.
What obstacles do you face?
Well, we’re still in the midst of many processes. There’s a lot of work to do. A lot of work. Right now, we’re still recruiting teachers and students. We’re also frontloading as much of the planning as possible so our launch will be smooth.
Where are you from?
Shaker Heights. I’m a product of the Shaker public schools.
How did you become involved in education?
After college, I was a journalist, actually, and I did PR work for a while. But after my second child, I had to think about what I really wanted to do. And I decided that I wanted to teach. So I went back to school in John Carroll's teacher apprentice program.
Why did you join SVP?
After I left my job, I still wanted to meet new people. I was looking for a way to stay involved and be civically engaged. CSVP met my all expectations. I’ve gained the education to make strong investments – I’ve learned how to research and assess non-profits.
On another CSVP note, I was happy to work with Cynthia Tancer, my board chair. I had met her before I joined as a partner, but I got to know her a lot better through CSVP. She’s really rolled up her sleeves and put in as much work into Citizens Leadership Academy as in her real job.
What do you do when you aren’t educating or saving lives?
I love to cook! I’m a foodie. I like to go to nice restaurants in Cleveland – atmosphere matters. I also love biking. My husband and I bike everywhere. On Sunday mornings, we bike to Chagrin Falls, get some coffee, lunch with friends and bike back.