Jamie O’Leary has devoted her career to public service and is a lifelong advocate for children and for high-quality education. Though neither of her parents completed college themselves, they told her early and often that if she “put her mind to it” and worked hard, she could accomplish anything – even attending an elite university. Several teachers and coaches further instilled this belief and held consistently high expectations for her. This experience impacted her so greatly that she earned her alternative teaching certification in order to teach students in a high-needs school in Camden, New Jersey through Teach For America. While in college, she was selected as a Truman Fellow for her commitment to public service and likelihood to be a “change agent,” and was also a Rhodes quarter finalist.
While teaching, Jamie was accepted into into Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs on a full-ride scholarship. She continued tutoring and mentoring high school students in inner-city Trenton, and earned her Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton with a focus in domestic/urban policy. She graduated with distinction before returning home to Ohio to work in education policy.
Jamie has worked in research, advocacy, and communications related to Ohio education for the last seven years. She currently works as a senior policy analyst for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, where she advocates for high-quality education for all students, no matter their background.
Jamie also is a certified yoga instructor and has a special interest in health, wellness, and a unique commitment to helping women and kids impacted by violence and trauma. She has volunteered with domestic violence shelters in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and started a training program for Columbus yoga instructors wanting to bring yoga to prisons, halfway houses, and shelters. She currently volunteers with a start-up nonprofit that helps abuse survivors attain economic independence and removes barriers to financial stability. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Clintonville, Columbus, and wants all Ohio families to receive the same high-caliber education she expects for her own children.