Meet Jonathan Doochin. Jonathan was a student at WSN from 3rd-6th grade. A graduate from Harvard University (Bachelor's and MBA), Jonathan is the CEO of the largest solar distributor in the United States. Click here to read more about Jonathan Doochin.
When did you attend Westminster School of Nashville (now Currey Ingram Academy)? I attended Westminster third through sixth grades in the early 90s.
What is your most memorable experience from WSN? I will provide you four because they form a full picture.
First, one that represents the kindness of people – Ms. Jackson, one of my teachers, went out of her way many times to help coach and make me successful, and it had a large impact on me.
Second, one that provides how kids gain confidence – Being placed in classes that matched my abilities (for example, being in 1st grade English and 6th grade math when I was in 3rd grade) made me feel successful where I would have typically struggled (either being bored or overwhelmed) in the everyday classroom – research calls this “thriving.” I was able to feel accomplished; school hadn’t allowed that for me prior to Westminster.
Third, I learned respect for people. We were all different, but we all had strengths and weaknesses. I learned that the ability to be vulnerable, at any age, is a key to developing into a more effective person, finding humility, and becoming an objective, full-hearted leader in this world. I went on to build two leadership institutes at Harvard that build off this key principle.
Fourth and finally, I came out with the belief that nothing is impossible and a desire to change the world, as my future was made possible by my teachers, parents, and classmates since they believed in me, coached me, and taught me to pick myself back up.
What is your current involvement at Currey Ingram? I currently live in California, so I am not currently involved, but I think of my experience often.
What is one piece of advice you would give to current Currey Ingram students and families? For families, the differentiating factor in what I believe helped me be successful was the belief that my parents and teachers had in me. Even when I struggled and felt like I wasn’t smart enough to do something, they believed in me. Never underestimate what true, genuine belief means to a person who struggles daily and can’t yet see past the large obstacle that is in front of them. Belief in your child is the number one driver to success. This, complimented by my parents and teachers finding things I was good at and helping me do them, were the two largest motivators for me. Children have skills that are amazing; helping them find these skills gives them a sense of fulfillment, hope and a strong reason to continue. For me, it was finding strengths in the outdoors, designing and shooting rockets, and a list of many other things that allowed me to feel like I was creative and could be something. Had I just spent my summers and every day of my life in a traditional classroom, I would have never had this same sense of accomplishment, which led me to my greatest strength – innovation.
Please elaborate on your academic experiences after Westminster. When I transitioned out of Westminster, I became one of the top students at J.T. Moore Middle School in Metro Nashville because I had been taught such discipline, structured organization, and study skills at Westminster.
In college, I had to adapt to a very rigorous expectation of knowing how to take tests in the fashion required. I couldn’t use my core skill set of innovation on many tests, and so I had to adapt to learning in an environment that had me sitting in a non-interactive lecture environment followed by non-experiential homework and learning.
In general, I think our education system is way off the mark in how we teach, and I have to say that the best teaching I had in all my years was at Westminster.
Where did you enroll in college, and why did you choose it? I enrolled at Harvard University. I never thought I would get in, nor did I have a huge desire, as I assumed I would be better off in a more experiential environment. I chose Harvard because it was not only hard to turn down, but because the people I met when I visited were so interesting and nice. I thought, “Well, it probably can’t go that wrong.”
That said, my freshman year at Harvard looked like a train wreck with a GPA of two point something (making a kid with dyslexia take Latin wasn’t very helpful), and it was suggested by some that it may not be the right place. I took a year off to start a business and to think about it. I used that innovative skill set and came back with a new focus, new classes and new goals. My GPA and passion jumped, and I picked myself up like I was taught in my youth and kept moving.
When did you graduate and what was your major? I graduated in 2005 with a psychology and economics joint major. I loved psychology because I believe if you can understand how people work, you will understand how teams, businesses and the economy work because they are all about people interacting. People turn out to be decently predictable (to my discontent). I went on to get an MBA from Harvard under the same interest and hypothesis.
What has been the most interesting and exciting thing you’ve done thus far in your life? To be honest, I have been very blessed to have done things that I think are very interesting. Today, I am CEO of the largest solar distributor in the United States. We help 4,500 small businesses across the country to develop their businesses and sell solar.
I have had the privilege to teach at Harvard and start a few different companies that I feel helped to impact the world. Honestly, my goal is to make the largest positive impact in this world, and so anything I have done where I can see that on an individual or macro level is something that gets me very excited.
Where are you currently employed? What are your future plans? I am currently the CEO of Soligent Holding, Inc., which has a few subsidiaries, which I manage with a phenomenal team (another thing I learned at Westminster – surround yourself with great people because we all can use the help if our goal is to make a contribution in this world). My future plans are to grow the company to empower a whole world of solar entrepreneurs, starting in the United States and expanding to countries where solar will save low-income families money that they can then use to put their kids through college, and not to mention, having an environment that isn’t as pollution-filled.
Currey Ingram Academy is an exemplary K-12 day school that empowers students with learning differences to reach their fullest potential. Since 2002, the school has been located on an 83-acre campus in Brentwood, Tenn., just miles from Nashville and Franklin. Families from 33 states and eight countries cite the school as their primary reason for moving to Middle Tennessee.
Currey Ingram Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and AdvancEd/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).