A Teacher with a Vision for a Worldwide Classroom
Julie was implementing a half-million-dollar educational technology program in her school, and loving it. Then, her husband got an attractive promotion and transfer. Starting over in a bare-bones country school, where none of the furniture even matched, she knew she would have to ask for a computer. It was a request she never regretted.
Julie Young is the deputy vice-president of education outreach and student services for Arizona State University, and the CEO of ASU Prep Digital High School. She is a leading voice for revolutionizing K-12 online education on the global stage. As the founding president and CEO of Florida Virtual School (FLVS), she and her team grew the organization from a handful of students in 1996 to a highly acclaimed online school using personalized, next generation learning solutions. Young and her team grew FLVS into a diversified, worldwide organization creatively serving over two million students in 50 states and 68 countries worldwide.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“I always liked school. I played school from my first day of kindergarten probably until my last day of 8th grade. I would come home from my school day and would play school at home. I was one of those girls who was perfect for my elementary classrooms teachers—a classic student who would stay after school, clap the erasers and help grade the papers. Then, I grew up and became an educator.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Julie was engaged in implementing a half-million-dollar technology grant in her school system in Fort Myers, Florida, when her husband got a promotion and a transfer to Orlando. Tearing herself away from her closely-knit extended family—all of whom had moved from Kentucky—she started over in a little country school, with no matching furniture. She even had to ask for a computer. “I got a call one day from the Orange County office, asking me to come speak to them about a grant. About 15 minutes into the conversation, I asked, ‘Is this an interview?’ He said, ‘Yes. We are looking for a principal to lead a web high school.’ I accepted.” She had stepped onto the front lines of the emerging, web-based learning, expanding her horizons from the local school to students all over Florida.
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“My best advice is to identify your talents. Be very deliberate about identifying what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy. Then, match your talents to your different career opportunities. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back, and don’t settle and become complacent in an okay job when you know you can find one that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning.”
Steps to Success from Julie Young
1. Try a variety of jobs before settling on one as your career. Be intentional about this process, staying long enough to see if you might like it, then moving on to test another one.
2. Whether you’re midway through your career or approaching retirement, it is never too late to learn something new and make a change.
3. Find a boss who takes an interest in you, who champions your strengths and wants to invest in you and help you grow. If you don’t have that kind of environment, consider looking elsewhere.
Connecting With Julie Young
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