J. Neil Shorthouse

Partners in Change

Neil Shorthouse is the co-founder of the Communities In Schools (CIS) national network. The mission of CIS is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to succeed in school and achieve in life. For more than 40 years Neil has worked to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth through his work with CIS and other youth serving nonprofit organizations. The CIS strategy focuses on connecting community resources to support students and families, improving graduation rates, academic achievement and job and postsecondary school readiness. Today, 27 states and the District of Columbia provide CIS programs and services through 180 community-based CIS affiliates to more than one million students.

As past president and founder of Communities In Schools of Georgia, Neil remains active in promoting its work through fundraising and assisting CIS affiliates. In 2013 Neil joined LeaderComm whose mission is to help communities create collaborative, integrated public and private service-delivery systems that address their most pressing needs and generate systems change.

Neil attended public schools in Pittsburgh and Penn Hills Township, earned a golf scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh where he was team captain for two years, obtained a Bachelor’s degree in political science and was inducted into the Penn Hills Sports Hall of Fame. Neil also received a Masters in religion from the Fuller Theological Seminary.

Today, through Partners in Change and other projects in Georgia, Neil promotes initiatives that seize on the dynamics needed to strengthen the work of our public schools and the communities that depend on them to strengthen economic development and the quality of life. In addition to serving of the LeaderComm board of directors, Neil also leads Georgia Appleseed’s board of director’s development committee. He’s a past president and current secretary of the Rotary Club of Atlanta West End. Neil was honored in 2006 when the Georgia Association for Alternative Education established the “Neil Shorthouse Award”, which is given annually to an esteemed person promoting alternative education, and in 2013 was a recipient of the William J. VanLandingham Commitment to Education Award by the Georgia Council on Economic Education.

Neil consults with a number of organizations and works closely with the Governor’s Office, legislative leaders, the Georgia Department of Education, the Technical College System of Georgia and the Georgia Board of Regents to improve student achievement and opportunities for the children of Georgia.

Neil is married to Patty Pflum and has lived in the Grant Park section of Atlanta since 1971. They have four children, six grandchildren and are members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in downtown Atlanta.