Carlisle retiring from THINC

Published 8:30 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2019

THINC College and Career Academy has met many milestones in its four years of educating students. Since before its inception, Kathy Carlisle has been on board as the Chief Executive Officer. Now, after five years, Carlisle has announced her retirement.

                  Dr. Kathy Carlisle

“This has been such an amazing journey,” said Carlisle. “We’ve had plenty of challenges along the way, but have achieved most everything we set out to accomplish in this short time. I’m especially proud of our students and their successes both in and out of the classroom. Our instructors have provided unrelenting support, knowledge, and education opportunities for our students.”

While Carlisle’s retirement is imminent, she will not make a complete exit until November of this year. THINC hopes to have finalized Carlisle’s replacement by July or August, at which point Carlisle will remain in a consultant role until November, to lend a hand to the new CEO.

“I will work with the new person through November,” Carlisle said. “There are just so many different pieces to what we’re doing, and our board wanted to have some consistency and support. I will be here as much as they need me during that transition.”

Carlisle was recruited to THINC by Malone Staffing prior to THINC opening its doors in August 2015. When she was contacted by Malone, she was serving as the director of mission services for the corporate Goodwill Industries International office located in Columbus. In her role with Goodwill, she oversaw operations in 50 counties, nine career centers and four training centers for individuals with disabilities.

What drew THINC to Carlisle was a combination of her management experience with Goodwill as well as her 14 years of education experience earlier in her career as both an HR director as well as a dean of enrollment services.

“I worked at Columbus State University for 14 years,” Carlisle said. “I started out as the human resources director and did that for six years. Then I was the dean of enrollment services for eight years. That interested the board. It was one of those things when everything comes together in your career.”

When the academy began, the plan was for the organization to directly connect education and workforce development in Troup County. Carlisle agreed that this has been a top priority for her. “Making connections with our local business partners, developing projects that have impacted our community, and setting high standards for learning and business skills has been a staple of mine. It’s made all the difference in the world having such strong partnerships with our business sponsors and supporters.”

When THINC opened its doors in August 2015, 490 students were enrolled at the charter-based school that houses students from three Troup County School System high schools and some home-schooled students. Today, enrollment has increased to 873 which includes students on campus and off campus who participate in work-based learning, dual enrollment, and youth apprenticeships.

“We’ve grown in both numbers and experience over the years,” says Carlisle. “Now we’re more established in our abilities to re-design the high school experience and entering a transition period of new growth as we continue to build on our relationships with the school system, technical college and local businesses.”

In reflecting back on her time with THINC, Carlisle points to the countless moments she has seen student progression as her most memorable experience.

“The thing that I have loved the most is seeing students blossom and grow, it’s almost magical when a student connects career with education, and they know ‘this is what I want to be,’” Carlisle said. “When you see that transformation in a student, that is the most rewarding thing.”

Malone Staffing is conducting the search for the CEO position at THINC, with plans to have the opening filled by the start of the 2019-20 school year.