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Current Class Spotlight: Dr. Jessica McCullen

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Dr. Jessica McCullen is an optometrist at Ottumwa Eye Care and has practiced in Ottumwa since 2012. Jessica graduated from Cornell College with bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology. She then earned her Doctorate of Optometry from Southern College of Optometry.

Jessica has thought about participating in the Leadership Academy for some time. “I have been involved in other Legacy programs like Bright Ideas, and now the Board and just have found the work to be very impactful and was hoping that O.L.A. would give me the opportunity to better myself and my leadership skills while learning more about the community. O.L.A. was also an extremely important organization for my mother, and that drove me to apply as well,” she said.

Barb Allision, Jessica’s mother, was a 2014 graduate of the Ottumwa Leadership Academy. Barb was instrumental in the development of the Ottumwa Leadership Academy Alumni Association. In October 2019, Barb passed away, leaving a legacy of loving and serving her family, friends, and community. The Barb Allison Alumni Award was established in 2021 to recognize an O.L.A. alum who is actively engaged in service and dedicated to building leaders in our community.

The monthly Academy sessions have been both eye-opening and encouraging for Jessica. “The education session and the Judicial/Law Enforcement session were impactful for me. As a parent with a child in the Ottumwa Community School District, I am so pleased with all the exciting things happening with the schools in Ottumwa. There is such positive energy surrounding the district, and I was thrilled to learn how OCSD and the Cardinal District are working to give their students such exciting opportunities to learn and grow. I’m also happy to be in a community with many first responders who care about the community and its residents. I think that it was eye-opening in both sessions to learn about how much mental health can affect our students or members of the community, and it is nice to know that it is being taken to heart by the folks that work with these individuals on a daily basis.”

Jessica’s top CliftonStrengths are Harmony, Maximizer, Relator, Achiever, and Learner. “I think that learning about my strengths helped me understand why I do some of the things that I do, but I also think that it helps put into perspective the ways that others around me may make decisions and ultimately help me to understand where others are coming from,” she said.

Jessica serves on the Legacy Foundation Board of Directors and the Ottumwa Rotary Club Board of Directors. Jessica and her husband, Nick, have two sons, Fenton and Warner.