Von Washington Jr. certainly understands the value of an education. Growing up the son of a college professor and professional actress, Von has been exposed to his parents’ love for and expertise in written and verbal communications for as long as he can remember. As executive director of community relations for The Kalamazoo Promise, Von is tasked with being the spokesperson for The Kalamazoo Promise, which includes responsibilities to key community stakeholders, media relations, and promoting a system of communication and information around a common vision of becoming an education community.
Prior to working with the Kalamazoo Promise, Von was an associate-vice president at Southwest Michigan First and concentrated his efforts on business development by partnering with existing regional companies on their job creation efforts. On behalf of the organization, he was also responsible for developing collaborations between educational institutions and businesses in order to best prepare the region’s future workforce. Apparently, Von still has his foot in the door there as he serves on Southwest Michigan First’s Board of Directors and returns one day each year to lend his showmanship to the Catalyst University emcee team.
Von arrived at Southwest Michigan First from the Kalamazoo Public Schools where he served as principal of Kalamazoo Central High School from August 2007 to July 2012. While there, he enjoyed a visit from President Barack Obama who selected that school in 2010 at which to deliver the first-ever presidential commencement speech at a high school for its winning entry in the Race to the Top Commencement Competition
Von holds a bachelor’s degree from Western State College of Colorado and a master’s of Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University.