In celebration of Leadership Geauga’s 25th Anniversary Year, we thought you’d enjoy reading about a few of the many alumni whose Leadership Geauga experience helps them to make a positive difference in our community. November saw the Class of 2020 participating in Education Day, so this month’s alumni profile is a dynamic educator from the Class of 2014: Meet Madelon Horvath.
By Joanne Durante (LG 2000)
When Madelon Horvath signed up for Leadership Geauga, she had already accumulated a few decades of experience teaching English, AP English and Theater Arts, as well as heading up both the English and Drama departments at Chardon High School. As a resident of Chardon for most of her adult life, Madelon had heard that Leadership Geauga was “a great way to get to know people and network with others who cared about the County.”
In 2013, she was running for a board position for the Chardon Local Schools. Joining Leadership seemed like a good way to get “a broader perspective.” As a member of the Class of 2014, she visited an Amish school on Education Day. She recalls, “It was really interesting. The people in my class were incredible.”
Although leadership skills were already a strong part of her skill set, the exposure that Leadership Geauga provided her to different areas of the community was an eye opener. She recalls, “Health and Human Services day was such an experience for me, meeting others who cared so deeply about the County. It made me wish I had more time to give in more ways.”
But Madelon’s life was already full of meaningful activities not only in our County but in the wider community as well. As a Leadership Coach on a national level for the International Thespian Society, a program of the Educational Theatre Association, Madelon has traveled to major cities across the U.S. to help state directors improve the quality of their drama programs.
Leadership Geauga introduced her to the Geauga Growth Partnership, and in addition to her activities there she is currently a member of Chardon Tomorrow and a past president of the Geauga Arts Council. Madelon explains, “Through Leadership, I knew the right people to contact to share ideas and get things done.”
Although she officially retired from teaching in 2009, she still continues to substitute when called upon, and to direct local theatrical presentations, including some senior center productions. Plans are currently underway for a Readers Theatre where local thespians will be challenged to read “cold” from a wide variety of short works for theater.
For Madelon, “Everything I’ve done is connected. Doing things with and for this community makes me happy. It energizes me…Theatre is a collaborative art, and the reason it works is because people come together to create something bigger than themselves. I work with other people to create something bigger than ourselves. That feeds me. It makes me happy.”
Not surprisingly, Madelon is now President of the School Board for Chardon Local Schools, where she continues to build a legacy of cooperative, supportive collaboration. She concludes, “I loved every aspect of the Leadership Geauga program. I guess I always liked going back to school. It sometimes reinforces things you already knew and sometimes provides you with new information. Leadership skills empower people and that’s how things get better.”