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Upward Bound Director Elaine Leavitt Retires

After 25 years, Elaine Leavitt has stepped down as director of SUNY Plattsburgh’s Upward Bound, a program that supports and prepares low-income, first generation high school students seeking higher education.

Meanwhile, former Associate Director Brian Post has moved into the directorship role.

During her time as director, Leavitt saw the program grow substantially. Now serving 209 students in 18 high schools within Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, the Plattsburgh Upward Bound program has become the largest in New York and the fourth largest in the nation.

Post credited Leavitt with providing growth and stability for the program and pushing it to be a little more academically focused.

To accommodate Upward Bound’s growth, Leavitt and her colleagues apply for grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Education every five years. According to Leavitt, the last competition was challenging, but with help from the Office of Sponsored Research, the Plattsburgh program successfully secured $875,700 last May.

“Working with Elaine was a delight,” said Michael Simpson, director of sponsored research and programs. “She had a great passion for the mission of Upward Bound and brought boundless energy to work.”

For Post, who has been with the program for four years and helped direct it for the past two, the move into the directorship was gradual.

“She’s been a great mentor for the past four years,” Post said. “I’ve been preparing for this. It’s a natural transition.”

Leavitt is confident in Post’s ability to lead the program.

“Knowing that Upward Bound is in the hands of a well-prepared and compassionate director allows me the comfort that the kids and the program are in good hands,” Leavitt said. “Brian will take the Upward Bound to a new level of success.”

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