If there’s one thing St. Clair County Community College alumnus Jim Earley has learned as a lifelong educator and administrator, it’s the importance of a good education if you want to make dreams come true.
“My educational and career path provided the opportunity to live my dream—a dream of service and making a difference to help ensure the communities in which I lived were in a much better place,” he said.
Earley was the first in his family to go to college and found his start at SC4 after graduating from Port Huron High School in 1971.
“By the end of my high school sophomore year, I knew St. Clair County Community College was for me,” he said. “SC4 offered an exceptional opportunity to learn and grow while still being able to live at home and work. I was the first member of my family to attend college. I needed to work in order to pay for my educational expenses. Otherwise, college was not an option.”
While attending SC4, Earley worked at St. Joseph Catholic School in Port Huron teaching grade K-8 gym classes, supervising the lunch periods and coaching basketball. He earned his Associate of Science in 1973.
“My goal was achieved after two years of classes—an associate degree and no student debt,” he said. “My educational experience at SC4 was a springboard to five college degrees, including a Ph. D. I could not have achieved my goals without SC4 and the opportunity it provided.”
After SC4, Earley went on to Ferris State University to earn his Bachelor of Science in education with a major in chemistry.
Earley began officially teaching science and coaching basketball at Port Huron High School from 1975-80. He then relocated to Kofa High School, Yuma, Ariz., where he taught chemistry/physics and coached basketball and tennis from 1980-85.
He returned to Port Huron High School in 1985, teaching chemistry and science along with coaching basketball and tennis until 1996. At that time, Earley took on administrative roles as principal of Memphis High School (1996-97) and Imlay City High School (1998-2000) as well as Imlay City assistant superintendent of schools (2000-10).
He earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Northern Arizona University in 1985, an educational specialist degree from Oakland University in 1997 and a doctorate in philosophy from Oakland in 2009.
Earley has participated in basketball, baseball, softball, tennis and golf in the Port Huron area for 60 years. He officially retired on June 30, 2010, and now spends the winters in Florida. He is currently a member of the Port Huron Golf Club and Moorings Country Club in Naples, Fla.
“St. Clair County Community College provided an opportunity to pull myself out of a middle-class working household to the point where anything was possible,” he said. “My American dream was fully alive. The first steps were the hardest and toughest, and SC4 helped me to grow and prosper while opening my eyes to what was possible. The journey was not without failure as obstacles were navigated and circumvented. SC4 is the best value on the market!”