Continuing in our series of Warren A. Sill Fund Board of Directors profiles is Joel Faulkner, a health and physical education teacher and event co-chair of Spring Out of Hibernation 2016. Joel hopes to see you at this year's event on April 9th, so buy your tickets now!
● How would you characterize your work with The Warren A. Sill Fund?
I am very grateful to be a part of such a unique and energetic group of young professionals working with The Warren A. Sill Fund. As an educator I have a passion for helping others and I believe it is important to help students access quality educational experiences. As a board member I have put myself in a position to use my strengths in planning and organization to benefit the WASF. In addition to education, I have 18 years of experience working in the food and beverage service industry where I have learned a lot about planning for events similar to our annual fundraiser, Spring out of Hibernation. I often find myself leveraging knowledge and skills from my service experience when coordinating our event.
● How do you foresee The WASF expanding its impact both with Kent State students and pre-K students?
I really love how the Fund has evolved and that we now support pre-K students in addition to collegiate level education. I work with students at the pre-K level daily and see both the need and value in education at this age when so much growth and development are taking place. Having cultural experiences during these formative years in children’s lives are valuable opportunities that will help create authentic real world learning experiences for Cleveland’s youth.
I can relate to having large expenses both during my undergrad and graduate collegiate experiences. Any opportunity to help subsidize hard working collegiate students with drive to help achieve their academic and life goals is a win!
● What sets the WASF apart from other scholarship opportunities?
From the birth of the WASF I have always been a huge fan of our collegiate scholarship selection process given that we do not require applicants to have a certain GPA or evaluate applicants based solely on academic rigor and achievements. We select candidates who show drive, passion for learning, teaching, and in some cases display values that Warren would appreciate. This allows for a diverse group of applicants and even those who may have made a mistake or two along the way to have the opportunity to show off their strengths and receive some monetary assistance to facilitate their academic ambition.
● As a Board Member, what achievement are you most proud of over the past three years?
I am so happy to see the board expand and reach out to other networks as we grow. The first year at the event I remember thinking how nice it is to see all of Warren’s friends come to support the Fund in his honor. Now, as I look at our event registration list, I see networks of friends, many of those who never had the opportunity to meet Warren yet care about helping provide education opportunities for those in need. It is very special to see the growth and support from all.
●What do you do, professionally? How do you like to spend your free time?
I am currently a health and physical education teacher at a small day school just outside of Cleveland where I spend a lot of time working with students grades preK - 8th grade. I also bartend 1-2 days a week at a local beer store and Whiskey bar which has become more of a hobby than a job. When not at school I enjoy traveling, snowboarding, cooking and spending quality time with friends and family.