Alison Paxson

Policy and Program Manager

About Alison

Hometown: Enon, Ohio

Education: BA, Political Science, The Ohio State University

Hobbies: I live in Columbus, Ohio, where I enjoy spending time with family and friends, caring for plants and animals, cooking for and with others, reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, engaging in all things sports-related, and hiking and doing everything I can to be closer to nature. I also love to travel and was recently fortunate to travel the furthest I have ever been — New Zealand — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about their education system, experience its natural beauty, and eat and drink like a hobbit.

Who are you?

I am the Policy and Program Manager, and in this role, I support HSC’s education and health policy initiatives to sustain funding in school health and bring together diverse stakeholders with the goal of creating a healthier and more equitable learning environment for all students.

What makes your job great?

All children and youth contribute to the vibrancy and success of our communities, and my role with HSC enables me to honor that truth and be part of a passionate team of colleagues and partners committed to cultivating an understanding of and momentum for policies and practices in school health that are informed by lived experience, data and evidence-based strategies.

When did you come to HSC?

I joined HSC in November 2023.

Why did you join HSC?

HSC’s mission helps build a vision for what is possible. Before joining HSC, I oversaw efforts to improve education equity and conditions for learning at a child advocacy organization in Ohio. It was through this formative experience that I came to understand that the solutions needed to achieve education equity within our schools must also address the inequities that exist outside of, and indeed permeate, the walls of school buildings themselves. Equity in education cannot be achieved if it is not in tandem with health equity, racial equity, economic equity, and the full scope of systemic factors that enable a just society for all of us. This reality is possible if we have the courage to envision it and work together to ensure the whole child well-being necessary for all young people to attain it. HSC’s interconnected strategies in health and education give me hope for real, lasting change.

Where does your motivation come from?

Ella Baker once said that “the reduction of injustice is not the same as freedom.” The future I envision for all children, youth, families and communities is one where freedom is the ultimate goal. Forever inspired by the 9th and 10th graders I served and learned so much from in Columbus City Schools, I seek to honor the voices and strengths of youth and make it my life’s work to support every young person to be thriving, happy and healthy, with opportunities to flourish and give meaningful input in the decisions that impact them.