MOUNT LAUREL >> As a first-generation college student, Jarrett Kealey recognizes the value of education. Within his role as Rowan College at Burlington County’s director of Advising and Retention, he works tirelessly to help students achieve their goals.
“I found higher education like many -- I had some great individuals who made me realize there was a career where you get to work with college students to help them find success,” Kealey shared. “I started my career in student life, advising student government and student organizations. I eventually transitioned to a role coordinating new student orientation but where I was also given a caseload of exploratory students to advise. Even now in a director role, I still enjoy conversing with students about their goals and seeing them discover paths that they did not know exist.”
Kealey joined the Barons just four years ago and has made a significant impact within that short timeframe. Under his leadership, the Advising department implemented new programs for at-risk students, offered interactive workshops for parents and families of students, introduced appointment advising and initiated an intrusive advising program with all developmental reading and writing course sections.
Over the past year, he has represented RCBC in front of colleagues across the state, region and country. He’s presented at the NJCU Community College Showcase, NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising Region 2 Conference and the League for Innovation in the Community College Annual Conference. His latest project involves collaborating with colleagues to implement Aviso Engage, a software that will allow faculty and staff to gain a better understanding of how we help students succeed.
When he’s not working, Jarrett enjoys spending time with his family, which now includes his five-year-old foster son (who loves visiting RCBC!), coaching Kindergarten soccer and t-ball, golfing and following the news (he is a big fan of National Public Radio). Jarrett and his wife also enjoy traveling and exploring new restaurants in South Jersey and Philadelphia.
As for earning employee of the year, Kealey credits his colleagues as contributing to his success.
“This is an honor that could go to so many of the deserving faculty and staff I get to work alongside to serve our students and help them achieve their goals. I am a better educator because of our students but also my colleagues. I enjoy being a lifelong student of higher education, as I learn from both my colleagues and our students,” Kealey shared.