WEST MIDDLESEX, Pa. – Little did Lisa Evans suspect how an advertisement for a job opening five years ago would change her life.
Evans, happy as a stay-at-home mom, had just completed her master’s degree when she saw the ad for a two-year, part-time teaching position that she thought would enable her to maintain her accreditation.
Evans, program director at the eAcademy@LindenPointe in Hermitage, was recognized last night as Shenango Valley Business Ambassador at the annual dinner of the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce. Also honored during the program was the Sharon Beautification Commission.
The awards recognize those “who are not only making a difference in the community but are bringing positive attention to the region, helping to put the Shenango Valley on the map as well as attract businesses, visitors and positive media attention” said Sherris Moreira, the chamber’s executive director.
“But their work should do one more thing. They should help raise the value of this area in the eyes of its residents,” she added. “They should inspire us to do more for our Valley.”
The eAcademy provides high-school seniors the opportunity to meet business leaders, develop entrepreneurship skills and see what is going on in the community outside the classroom.
“Every once in a while an opportunity comes along where you get to break all the rules, have so much fun and not get in trouble,” Evans said.
She enjoys being able to write her own curriculum, work independently and help create a different startup business each year.
Prior to launching the eAcademy, Evans started, owned and managed several businesses. During that time she discovered her best employees had three skills in common. “I could teach an employee just about any workplace skill that they need, but effective communication, independence and resourcefulness is much harder to teach,” she said. “The lack of those skills caused the most difficulties and conflicts in the workplace.”
Starting with five school districts, the eAcademy now has participation from 11 local school districts.
“We built this program together,” she said. “We tried activities that didn’t work and we kept the ones that were impactful. … In the end, we threw out the rubrics and let the students lead.”
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