Jimmy Tadlock, program director at the CollegeBound Foundation, received the Dr. David B. Swedlow Professional of the Year Award of Excellence at the 2020 NCAN National Conference, which was held virtually. This award recognizes the dedication, hard work,
and innovation of an individual working at a college access program.
Jimmy has dedicated most of his life’s work to supporting students as they pursue their college dreams. His impressive background includes roles as an officer in the U.S. Navy and a cryptologist in the National Security Agency. Following the Gulf War,
he resigned his commission as a naval officer to teach middle school science.
After teaching, he found his new home in the college access field and helped build CollegeBound Foundation's program from the ground up. When it started, CollegeBound Foundation had only a few college advisers serving Baltimore City's public high schools.
Today, this organization has 20 College Access Program Specialists (CAPS) serving two-thirds of its city’s high schools students.
Over the past three decades, CollegeBound Foundation has provided 81,400 individual advising sessions to high school students, and has reached 297,100 students through group advising sessions. The organization is also a founding member of NCAN.
In his innovative spirit, Jimmy created CollegeBound’s first retention program, which ran from 2006 to 2012, and boasted a 60% college graduation rate (from four-year colleges, within six years) – significantly outpacing the average college graduation
rate in the area. Funding for the first retention program dried up, but under his leadership, he created Retention 2.0 in 2017. Three years into the program, 88% of students are persisting, including 91% of the rising college seniors (40 out of 44
Moreover, CollegeBound Foundation now awards close to $3 million in college scholarships every year to students in Baltimore.
Jimmy is involved in numerous collaborative work groups and committees to support student success. He has led work with the Maryland Higher Education Commission to implement a new real-time FAFSA tool, serving over 2,500 public high school seniors. He
also serves on the steering committees of Maryland’s Higher Education Network; an advocacy group for foster care and homeless youth in the college access pipeline; as well as the Baltimore’s Promise Steering Committee for the College and Career Readiness
Network. Additionally, he leads an annual high school principals’ retreat.
He’s a servant leader, selfless, and the first to volunteer to help a colleague or to give college advice to anyone who asks. One program alum states, “I am confident that I would not be where I am today were it not for this organization and its leadership.”
This alum is now the Baltimore City Council president and a Democratic nominee for mayor of Baltimore.
For many of the CollegeBound Foundation's external partners, Jimmy is the “go-to guy” on all college access questions. Internally, his team calls him the “King of College Access.”
Catalina Cifuentes, executive director of the Riverside County Office of Education and an NCAN board member, presented the award to Jimmy. As the award recipient, Jimmy's organization will receive $1,000 to put toward general operating support, scholarships,
and/or professional development.
NCAN solicits nominees from its membership for the annual Awards of Excellence in College Access and Success. A committee of NCAN members reviews all nominations, with final decisions confirmed by the NCAN
board of directors. NCAN thanks the members of the 2020 Awards Committee for their service: