Community Gem: Michelle Littlejohn makes space for students to succeed

Michelle Littlejohn, manager of the Fast Forward Recovery Center at Sinclair, helps students who have paused their education get back on track.
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Michelle Littlejohn, manager of the Fast Forward Recovery Center at Sinclair, helps students who have paused their education get back on track.

As manager of the Fast Forward Reengagement Center at Sinclair, her job is to help students reach their full potential.

DAYTON — Michelle Littlejohn has spent over a decade helping students from ages 15-24 who have put studying for their GED, high school diploma, or college career on hold.

As the manager of the Fast Forward Reengagement Center at Sinclair Community College, her job is to help students reach their full potential, and through the center, nearly 4,000 students have earned their high school diploma through partner recovery schools.

Littlejohn has been manager of Fast Forward Reengagement Center for eight years, and worked for the center for 12. t

“There’s all kinds of reasons that people disengage from education, so I love finding ways to assist in helping them find their way back and fulfill their goals,” Littlejohn said. “Nobody wakes up in the morning and says I’m going to be a dropout. What motivates me is to understand and find out the why, and how do we help those families and students reengage, and work towards and fulfill their full capacity.”

Jay Byrne, youth connections principal at Miami Valley Career Technology Center, nominated Littlejohn as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem.

“She has a passion for helping the at-risk population of students,” Byrne said. “With everything going on, with COVID the way it is, there’s a lot of kids that have been struggling before that are struggling more now. She’s been a tremendous advocate, and we need more people like that.”

Between community partner organizations, school districts, and recovery centers, it takes a village to ensure a student is exactly where they need to be to succeed, Littlejohn says.

“Being mentors and helping each other, that’s what’s going to help our community,” Littlejohn said. “Education is so important on all levels. Everything we’ve gone through in Montgomery County, the best time to work together is now. That’s what’s going to make us Dayton Strong.”