Education nonprofit taps new leader

GREENFIELD — It was the perfect position at the perfect time for Brenda Wolski.

Wolski, a Wilkinson native, had just accepted an offer for early retirement from her 12-year stint as a guidance counselor at Crown Point High School in northwestern Indiana, when she ran across the job listing for executive director of Hancock County Leaders in Navigating Knowledge, a nonprofit organization that works to provide support to young adults preparing for education beyond high school.

And the Greenfield-based agency welcomed Wolski with open arms; she began work for LINK in July and plans to work to increase the organization’s client base of young adults seeking to continue their education.

LINK, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010, provides post-high school educational and workforce training programs to county residents. The organization receives partial funding through grants from Lilly Endowment Inc., an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created by three members of the Lilly family through gifts of stock in Eli Lilly and Co., LINK board of directors chair Mary Gibble said. This year, the organization also received $10,000 from the city of Greenfield for its efforts, Gibble said.

Wolski served as an educator in Indiana high schools for 32 years but had long wanted to return to Hancock County to live closer to her mother and two sisters, she said. The part-time position in Greenfield, one she likened to a “guidance counselor for young adults” was ideal, as Wolski wished to continue with her passion for education during fewer hours a week.

“This position presented itself,” she said. “It was perfect for me and exactly what I was looking for.”

The position had been full time in the past, before former executive director Danielle Daugherty moved on to take another position. While Rachel Strong served as the interim executive director, LINK’s board of directors evaluated the position and decided it could be completed on through part-time work, Gibble said.

One of Wolski’s first tasks as the new director is planning the organization’s annual Education Expo, which features workshops and vendors talking with county high school students and young adults about higher education. This year’s event is slated for 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Hancock Wellness Center, 888 W. New Road, Greenfield.

Wolski graduated from Eastern Hancock High School in 1978 before earning her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer and her master’s degree from Indiana University in Bloomington.

Wolski is the organization’s lone paid employee, but LINK also boasts an 18-member board of directors that assists the executive director in planning the education expo and other events.

Kathy Locke, a board member who represents the Greenfield Board of Public Works and Safety, said Wolski has done a good job of quickly beginning work in the new position.

“She’s got a great background, and she’s well-suited to the position,” Locke said. “We’re just real excited to have Brenda on board.”

About Brenda Wolski

Brenda Wolski began working as the Hancock County Leaders in Navigating Knowledge executive director in July.

A 1978 graduate of Eastern Hancock High School and a Wilkinson native, Wolski earned her undergraduate degree from St. Joseph’s College in Rennselaer and her master’s degree from Indiana University — Bloomington.

Wolski taught physical education and health for 21 years as well as serving 19 years as a girls varsity basketball coach at Loogootee, Centerville and Knox high schools. Her teams had more than 200 career wins and three sectional championships.
The last 12 years of her career have been dedicated to being a high school counselor at Crown Point High School in northwestern Indiana. She served as the director of guidance for five years.

If you go

Hancock County Leaders in Navigating Knowledge hosts an education expo every year for high school students and young adults considering continuing education.

The Education Expo will be 4:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at Hancock Wellness Center, 888 W. New Road, Greenfield.

The expo will feature a time for students and young adults to meet with representatives from colleges and universities. It will also feature workshops, focusing on topics including college visits, declaring a major, financial aid and writing a standout college entrance essay.

Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.