Chatfield Edge, former college turned nonprofit, appoints 1st executive director

A former first-generation college student is looking to pay it forward by taking over the reins of a new nonprofit focused on supporting people facing situations like the one he faced growing up in Southwest Ohio.

Roger Taylor became the first full-time executive director of The Chatfield Edge on July 1.

Roger Taylor, executive director of The Chatfield Edge
Roger Taylor

Formerly known as Chatfield College, the organization operated as a two-year, private liberal arts college for decades. It began its transition into an education-minded nonprofit in January.

The Chatfield Edge looks to build on the 177-year-old legacy of the Ursuline Sisters of Brown County, a Christian religious organization based in Fayetteville, Ohio. Its mission is to assist prospective first-generation and nontraditional postsecondary students by offering a combination of services, scholarships and mentorship opportunities.

Currently, the agency operates a campus in St. Martin, Ohio, and it also has an office in Over-the-Rhine on Central Parkway.

The Chatfield board of trustees cited Taylor’s unique perspective and personal story as major reasons for his selection. The longtime educator grew up in a rural, agricultural community in Adams County. He put himself through school while supporting his family by working at a local gas station.

Taylor holds a bachelor’s degree in intervention specialist education from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, and a master’s in educational leadership administration from the University of Dayton.

The Chatfield Edge Campus in Brown County.
The Chatfield Campus in Brown County

For 15 years, Taylor has worked across the region as a high school administrator, special education teacher, coach, athletic director and adjunct college faculty member.

His goal is to spend his first year connecting with community and educational organizations – K-12 school districts, local colleges and universities – to identify individuals who can benefit from The Chatfield Edge’s services.

“He has worked with disadvantaged populations, including at-risk students, his entire career,” Tommie Lewis, a Chatfield board member, said of Taylor. “His flexibility in meeting students where they are, familiarity with the Tristate area, and ability to develop strong relationships with community stakeholders will allow him to expand the footprint of The Chatfield Edge.”

David Hesson, who was interim executive director during Chatfield’s first six months, is staying on to fill the role of director of programs. He’ll assist students with selecting a field of study, picking the right school for them, filling out applications and securing financial aid. Hesson’s other responsibilities include overseeing mentors and community partnerships.

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