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From Teacher to Principal, School Leader is Thankful to be at NHA

This story is part of the “What is a DSQ?” blog series.

Nathan Preston was introduced to National Heritage Academies on accident by a family member. That serendipitous mention set him off on a path that he's been on ever since and continues today as he oversees six schools.

Preston taught high school social studies in Arizona for one year before moving back to Ohio in 2007. He initially couldn’t find a job and was substitute teaching. After hearing about the opening at Emerson Academy in Dayton, Ohio, he was happy to have the opportunity, but was unfamiliar with charter schools.

“I didn't know what NHA was,” he said. “I just knew I had a job, I was teaching, and I was happy with that.”
Preston also worked at Emerson as an instructional coach and as a dean before becoming principal at Winterfield Venture Academy in Toledo for six years and Pathway School of Discovery in 2019. He then became a director of school quality for the 2022-23 school year. As a DSQ, Preston will supervise the principals of Emerson Academy, Pathway School of Discovery, River City Scholars, Endeavor Charter Academy, Timberland Charter Academy, and Paramount Charter Academy.

“The opportunity to work with high-performing school leaders was really interesting and exciting to me,” he said. “The opportunity to support and move forward entire schools of children and students just really hits the core of why I’m in education. And from a personal perspective, the opportunity to learn and grow. Most of my career has been in Ohio, so having four Michigan schools, I’m definitely learning new dynamics, new perspectives, and new communities. That’s been really exciting so far.”

Preston said he is excited to use his experience as a principal to help current administrators behind the scenes and provide any support that is needed.

“I’m really looking forward to breaking down any barriers the principals are having to getting what their students and staff needs to be successful, as well as introducing them to new possibilities and opportunities or ways to help their staff and students be successful,” he said.

“Definitely a lot of learning on my end as I grow into the role, but I’m looking forward to being able to be a partner and supporting the principals in the schools, but also, I’m sharing ideas and helping problem solve with them. I’m a problem solver at my core, I like to be creative, it’s solution oriented. Sometimes having that outside perspective is what you need to be able to address a problem.”


About National Heritage Academies:
National Heritage Academies (NHA) is a network of 98 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.