New Opportunity School for WomenNew Opportunity School for Women

New Opportunity School for Women

View the 2013-2014 NOSW Rack Card

View the Winter 2013 NOSW Newsletter

Download NOSW Application

Click the links below to learn more about the New Opportunity School for Women

1. Upcoming Events 2. Mission 3. About NOSW 4. Recent Photos
5. Helpful Links 6. Residential Program 7. Director 8. Contact

Upcoming Events

NOSW at Lees-McRae
July 6 - 26, 2014

Inaugural Friendship Luncheon
Silent Auction Featuring Appalachian Arts and Crafts
Friday, August 15 at 11:30 a.m.
Beech Mountain Club
$35 per person

Join us for the inaugural friendship luncheon and silent auction to benefit the New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae College. The silent auction will begin at 11:30 a.m. followed by a seated luncheon and an address from our keynote speaker Ms. Jane Stephenson, founder of the New Opportunity School. All are welcome to attend. Participation in the silent auction is encouraged but optional. 

Shuttles are available and will depart from the Cannon Student Center at Lees-McRae College.

Please RSVP by Thursday, August 7 to Jennie Harpold, director of the NOSW, at or 828.898.8905.


The mission of the New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae College is to improve the educational, financial, and personal circumstances of low-income women -- usually between the ages of 30-55 -- who live in or hail from the Southern Appalachian region.

  • If you are a woman in a period of transition in your life, or if you wish to clarify your personal strengths and aspirations, plan to attend the New Opportunity School for Women.
  • If you have spent the last several years as a volunteer and want to now become gainfully employed, but are not certain how to seek a job or how to identify your job skills, attend the New Opportunity School for Women.
  • If you wish to have an opportunity to meet other women and to support one another during a three-week new learning experience, apply to the New Opportunity School for Women.

To learn more about the New Opportunity School for Women in Berea KY, visit

To donate, please contact Jennie Harpold, director of NOSW, at 828.898.8905 or

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About Us

In 2005, Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC became home to the second New Opportunity School for Women.  Originally founded in 1987 by Lees-McRae College alumna Jane Baucom Stephenson (‘57) in Berea, KY, this organization seeks to, “improve the educational, financial, and personal circumstances of low-income women,” in the Appalachian region.

We are seeking up to 14 low-income women to participate in the New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae College during the three-week residential program each July. There is no cost to the participant.  During the program, the women explore career options, educational goals, and leadership development as well as a self-esteem boosting curriculum.  Weekday mornings and some evenings are spent in workshops -- topics include computer training, job search skills, leadership development, Appalachian Literature, basic math, and creative writing, among several others -- while afternoons are spent at a job internship of interest to the participant.  During evenings and weekends, participants continue classes and workshops as well as field trips to museum and attendance at cultural events in our area.  The curriculum of the NOSW also includes a workshop on how to go back to school, receive financial aid, and take the SAT or ACT. Graduates of the New Opportunity School for Women find the experience life-altering.  According to the New Opportunity School for Women in Berea, KY, “In the past 18 years, over 450 women have completed the School’s three-week residential program.  A recent survey of graduates showed that 76% are now employed, enrolled in further education, or both. 

Graduates of the NOSW are now employed in areas such as social work, counseling, education, public relations, business, and healthcare vocations such as nursing and respiratory therapy.”  In fact, the program has been so successful that it was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show as part of Oprah’s Angel Network.

Any woman who has a GED or high school diploma, who is of low income, and who lives in or hails from the Southern Appalachian region is eligible to attend the New Opportunity School for Women.  Most participants are between the ages of 30 and 55 and are motivated and eager to learn.

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Recent Photos

Click here to view the NOSW Smilebox photo slideshow

Spring 2014 Open House 


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Helpful Links

Scholarship Fund Application Form North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities
North Carolina Community College System Financial Aid Resources College Foundation of North Carolina
JobLink Career Centers of North Carolina North Carolina Association of Free Clinics
Find a Local NC Workforce Office Near You Dental Fund Guidelines
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Residential Program

Please email, call 828.898.8905, or download the application

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Meet the Director

Jennie Harpold began working as Director of New Opportunity School for Women in August 2013. Prior to assuming that position she worked with NOSW for five years as instructor and career coach. She brings more than twenty years of workforce and career and technology education expertise to the program. Her experience in working with Workforce Development, directing educational programs for community colleges in multiple states and her non-profit management skills will serve her well in her new position. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary with a degree in Social Psychology.

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Contact Us

Mail: New Opportunity School for Women
Lees-McRae College
PO Box 128
Banner Elk NC 28604
Phone: 828.898.8905
Fax: 828.898.3524

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