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National Heritage Academies Named One of the Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®

NHA Communications Team  |  December 02, 2020
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 2, 2020 — Behaving and leading with care is the soil that produces a flourishing work environment. The COVID-19 pandemic posed many challenges and emphasized the importance of taking care of employees more than ever before. National Heritage Academies (NHA), a Michigan-based public charter school network, was recently recognized as one of 151 winning companies out of 1,100 nominations as a 2020 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation®.
The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For throughout the Nation award honors organizations for demonstrating exceptional innovative human resource practices and setting high standards for all businesses.
To be selected to receive the award, companies are evaluated by an independent research firm based on key measures in categories including compensation, benefits, and employee solutions; employee enrichment, engagement, and retention; work-life balance; and employee education and development, among other categories.
“Our people are our most valuable resource, especially now, given the current landscape of education. Staying true to our core values and taking care of our employees is paramount to our success as a company,” said Thea Reigler, NHA chief people officer. “It’s an honor to be recognized for what we do in NHA schools to make this a great place to work, and I look forward to all that our team members will continue to accomplish.”
NHA was recognized for its recruitment and onboarding practices, recognition of employee achievements, and the education and development of its team members – each aspect highlighting the intentionality behind NHA’s focus on creating an engaged workforce. Every year, NHA sets aside a week for Leadership Summit, which brings together school leaders from all NHA schools for a week-long professional development.
One of the many things that set NHA apart is the focus on offering employees flexible scheduling. Achieving the perfect blend of work and home life is often challenging, so NHA has created a multitude of initiatives and benefits that make flexibility a reality for staff.
“Through the first half of 2020, the Best and Brightest Companies To Work For have demonstrated leadership and forward-thinking as they pivoted their business and workforce through COVID-19,” said Jennifer Kluge, President and CEO, Best and Brightest Programs. “As the conversation and focus has shifted, our Best and Brightest winning companies have also been a voice for important actions regarding Race. It is in these unique times, the Best and Brightest Companies To Work For excel and share their knowledge with others."
At the Service Center (SC), NHA’s corporate headquarters, there are several departments dedicated to the development of school leaders, teachers, special education staff, and SC leaders and staff. This focus contributes to the continuous professional opportunities for growth within the company. For example, take a look at Shawn Leonard, an NHA leader who has worked his way from assistant principal to principal, to director of school quality, to now senior director of school quality. Or, David King, NHA director of school quality, who started his career at NHA in the classroom.
NHA employees shared how they’ve seen or experienced NHA going above and beyond firsthand:
“NHA makes supreme efforts to care for their employees. It cannot go without mention that this care is exemplified in the bi-annual Glint Employee Engagement Survey. NHA has remained consistent in giving employees a voice for organizational change through this survey and you can see the tangible results year after year.” – Wayne Muhammad, NHA principal.
“NHA Gives is a perfect example of going above and beyond to care for our people. When tragic life events happen, NHA Gives has been there to help ease the burden.” – Amy Ebling, director of school quality.
“NHA focuses on growing each employee through the O3’s, continuous professional development, and opportunities for growth throughout the company. Through support, development, and positive recognition, NHA is a leader in demonstrating care for their employees and ensuring everyone feels valued and heard.” – Sabrina Terenzi, principal at Plymouth Scholars Charter Academy.
“NHA behaves like a family. Our response to the COVID pandemic is a great example of how NHA goes above and beyond. NHA provided industry-leading flexibility to ensure everyone remained safe. We invested significant resources to be able to meet the needs of our schools and Service Center.” – Luke Boyea, project manager at NHA.
“NHA goes above and beyond by growing from within. NHA provides coaching opportunities at every level that assists in not only making you a better paraprofessional, teacher, dean, or principal to provide the best support to families, but to also grow and develop leadership skills.” – Tammy Pugh, executive principal at Southside Academy Charter School.
The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation Winners will be honored during the virtual Illuminate Business Summit week in spring 2021.
About National Heritage Academies:
National Heritage Academies is a network of 90 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through eighth-grade. For more information, visit
About the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®:
A national program that provides the business community with the opportunity to gain recognition, showcase best practices, and demonstrate why they are an ideal place for employees to work. This program celebrates companies that are making better business, creating richer lives, and building a stronger community.