A change for Tom Ghinder

Tom Ghinder was recently featured in an article in the Akron Beacon Journal. “Why aren’t people working? They’re looking for better jobs, seeking child care or retiring“. In this interview, he talks about how his life changed during Covid and coming out of retirement.

The excerpt that features Tom is below.

“How do you live a quality life? Good housing. Being able to understand the neighborhood and world around you… my mission right now is to figure out a way to bring a universal education support system to Akron.”

Tom Ghinder


Tom Ghinder retired from his tech career in 2016.

At 60, the Akronite is back on contract for the same company where he worked before retiring.

While some retirees are being recruited to fill gaps in the ongoing labor shortage – CNN reported in December that about 2.6% are “unretiring” – Ghinder said he went back in large part to help Akron Promise, the education non-profit he founded with his wife, Daralee Ghinder.

“At the beginning of 2021, Akron Promise had grown enough we needed a
professional director instead of me, an entrepreneur,” Tom Ghinder said.

In April, Akron Promise hired Jeanne-Hélène Roy as executive director to fulfill its mission of helping students at Kenmore-Garfield high school succeed in trade programs or graduate from community college or university.

Eventually, Ghinder said he hopes Roy can expand the program to all Akron
children, preparing for each child for long-term success from the moment they’re born.

Ghinder said he returned to work last year in large part to help pay for Roy and what she can do for Akron Promise.

And in some ways, the pandemic made coming out of retirement easier.

Ghinder’s job analyzing data and systems for large corporations had always
required him to travel, often flying home on weekends just long enough to check inand then fly away again.

He didn’t like the travel, even though he always found the rest of his work
satisfying. “Now, I will always work from home,” he said.

That’s partly because of his niche experience, Ghinder said, but also because clients have grown accustomed to working remotely during the pandemic. Cutting travel also saves businesses money.

But there’s been a lot of other changes in the business world in the five years since he retired, he said.

Ghinder said he’s still learning to navigate cloud storage and when to use business messaging apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams versus email or direct messages.

For now, he’s glad to be back in tech and has no horizon for a second
retirement, especially because he’s working from home.

But even when he does retire again, he said he will never give up serving kids and education.

“How do you live a quality life?” Ghinder asked. “Good housing. Being able to
understand the neighborhood and world around you… my mission right now is to figure out a way to bring a universal education support system to Akron.”

Akron Promise Founder, Tom Ghinder, Op-ed. March 22, 2022, Akron Beacon Journal.

The original article can be found here.

State rankings neglect to tell success stories found in Akron Public Schools
Tom Ghinder

Published 6:00 a.m. ET March 22, 2022

On March 12, the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) STEM High School won the 2022 Ohio VEX Robotics Competition. This marks the school’s second consecutive state championship. In addition, Firestone high school finished in the top 10. These wins qualify both schools for the world championships, and all of the competitors and their supporting families, teachers and coaches deserve hearty congratulations.

Akron Public Schools are consistently ranked low among all state districts, yet these rankings don’t accurately measure academic success, opportunity, social emotional learning or myriad other components that constitute quality education.

Rather, state rankings most closely measure parental income. In 2019, the median income for A ranked districts was $95,423. For F ranked districts, the median was $32,658. In all districts, on average, students with economic advantages outperform students without such advantages in ranking criteria.

There are many reasons for which children from households struggling with poverty perform poorly in state ranking criteria, such as housing instability, poor nutrition and health habits in the family, lack of books in the home, generational trauma, etc. For these students, however, unfortunate circumstances need not determine their future. In Akron, students coming from
difficult situations enjoy numerous opportunities and many break the cycle of poverty.

For example, students who choose Akron Public Schools encounter opportunities for an education focused on their interests and desires. APS offers an almost limitless number of programs that often surpass those found in other local schools. Just one of them resides in the STEM cluster — as demonstrated above — not to mention the arts, International Baccalaureate, medicine, marketing and machining, among the dozens of other pathways available to students.

All APS students who excel academically (3.0 GPA or above along with a qualifying ACT score) qualify for a full scholarship to the University of Akron. Students at the I Promise School that meet requirements are eligible for full scholarships to either UA or Kent State University.

Graduates of Kenmore-Garfield High School qualify for tuition and book scholarships to Stark State College from Akron Promise. Project GRAD Akron, the AVID College Readiness System and other programs operate to facilitate preparation and access and some provide scholarships to postsecondary education. Students attending Akron Early College High School graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree, saving two years of college
tuition toward a bachelor’s degree if that is the path they choose.

APS is clearly the district of choice for local education. Don’t let the state of Ohio rankings fool you.

Tom Ghinder is the parent of Akron Public Schools graduates and founder of Akron Promise. In 2017, Akron Promise started the process to implement direct programs for students at Kenmore-Garfield High School. These include the Student Success Team, ACT testing support programs and the Kenmore-Garfield Stark State College scholarship.