Great Leaders Drive
Great Schools

The concept behind BRIGHT grew out of breakthrough research sponsored by the Ohio Business Roundtable, The Ohio State University, and the Ohio Department of Education. Conducted in the 2012 by distinguished nonprofit organization Public Agenda, the study examined 9 Ohio public schools that are high-performing despite having student body poverty rates exceeding 50 percent. The research was designed to identify how these schools deliver positive results despite their challenges.

The key conclusion from the report, “Failure Is Not An Option,” is that each of the schools was headed by an exceptional and highly skilled leader. In each case, the building Principal led with passion, commitment, remarkable interpersonal skills and a solid conviction that failure is not an option when it comes to the education and lives of young Ohioans.

Graduates from the first Bright Fellowship Cohort

That discovery led directly to the creation of a nonprofit organization, BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools. Over the next two years, in partnership with The Ohio State University, we worked to develop the BRIGHT Fellowship program. After consulting dozens of education leaders, international thought leaders, business executives, and experts in the fields of education and leadership, the first cohort was launched in 2015. In 2016, 30 BRIGHT Fellows graduated. More than two-thirds remain leaders in the education field today.

Our second cohort launched in 2017 and in 2018 another 30 BRIGHT Fellows graduated. More than two-thirds remain leaders in the education field today even after their 3-year commitment is completed.


Moreover, BRIGHT Fellows have gone on to transform schools and districts throughout Ohio. Our Fellows are award-winning school principals, district leaders and superintendents.

The graduating Fellows from the second Bright Fellowship Cohort

In 2020 The BRIGHT Initiative became housed fully at The Ohio State University and the nonprofit organization, BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools has closed.


This exciting new transition positions BRIGHT to not only continue our prestigious Fellowship program, but to expand our leadership development expertise to a wider audience.


Funding for the BRIGHT Initiative comes from the Ohio General Assembly, corporate and charitable foundations, and individual donors.