For an educational organization, there may be nothing more satisfying, as well as validating, than having a former learner return to work as a staff member. Well for current iLEAD Lancaster Staffer Ryan Monroe, it’s apparently equally satisfying to him as well. Monroe is an alum of both iLEAD Lancaster and Empower Generations. In a recent Q&A, Monroe shared his journey from learner to staff member:
iLEAD: What iLEAD School did you attend and when?
Monroe: I was going into the fifth grade when I found out about iLEAD Lancaster. I was one of the founding learners to first attend the Lancaster site. I’ve also attended Innovation Studios in high school before they merged into Empower Generations. I attended Empowered Generations as well. Graduating in 2020, I finished my educational career at an iLEAD school.
When did you start with iLEAD as a staff or team member? What is your role? How have you been welcomed by the staff?
I started iLEAD as a staff member near the end of 2019 in maintenance and then moved to the Care Team. I’ve been welcomed with open arms and support from the iLEAD family. It feels like home every time I come to work. Knowing that we rise together we rise even after a pandemic, creates a stronger family bond through staff and learners.
Where did you go to college or other post-secondary training? What did you study?
I am currently attending Antelope Valley College to work in the medical field and become an EMT. I plan to progress in that field possibly under firefighting or paramedics. I plan to stay in the Antelope Valley and help save lives in my community.
What did you enjoy the most about attending iLEAD?
What I enjoyed the most were the tools that they gave me for success in life and lifelong learning. Some of those are public speaking, as well as building important relationships and maintaining those relationships through consistency and care. The family environment of iLEAD has helped me thrive in the social emotional aspects of life the most. In the professional environment, iLEAD has also provided the tools to make business connections and create a small business. I learned marketing, budgeting, supply, demand, what kind of people to surround yourself with and how to maintain success in the competitive rigorous world.
What skills or things did you learn from iLEAD? How have you used them? Any examples?
The most important skills I’ve learned from iLEAD are Love and Logic along with the 7 (now 8) Habits. Being able to communicate as authentically as possible is one of my most used and most valued skills from iLEAD. Communication is a key aspect of life and how iLEAD has impacted me. I know that I can change the world and with communication – seeking first to understand then to be understood. With that in mind, I can truly become a leader and use this tool to create successful relationships. I can express myself because I have a voice that makes a difference and so do my peers.
Do any of your iLEAD facilitators or staff stand out in your memories? Who? Why?
Some very important members of the iLEAD family have helped shape and support me throughout my life. I consider all of them family. Those people are Dawn Evenson, Lynn Boop, Kim Etter, Laura Henriquez, Kim Lengning, Kristan Van Houten, Erik Etter, Anasia Washington, Shynelle Tillman, Brittany Ward, Shantoria Jones, Shaana Scott and so many more. Everyone has given me support and guidance throughout my education. I am very thankful for the many people who have played such important roles in my life.
What’s it like having attended an iLEAD school and now working at one?
So attending iLEAD Lancaster was amazing. From the family environment, tremendous support and lifelong learning, I have been put in the driver’s seat of my education and life. iLEAD gave me the freedom to think, as well as inspired me to lead others in using these tools to live a successful educational and social emotional life. I couldn’t be more grateful to have attended such a community friendly, family school with endless opportunities to make your dreams a reality. Now working at iLEAD Lancaster is a big shift indeed. I currently work as a Care Team Member in the fifth grade (the grade I started attending iLEAD). One of my goals is to provide the learners the same experience I had. I want to help guide the learners to success in life and show them that they too can lead others to success and change the world. To give a child the inspiration and tools to make the world their own is to give hope to humanity and bring real change. It’s a challenge to be in education. I’m all for new experiences and challenges. One thing I always say is I will never give up on a child.
What are your hobbies, passions or personal interests?
My hobbies are gardening, playing video games, traveling and reading comics. My passions are public speaking, serving the community and medicine.
Any other thoughts about working at iLEAD or being an iLEAD alum?
iLEAD is the organization to make educational history. Our focus on social emotional learning and life skills integrated into the standards of education will help children move mountains. Our mission and vision is the foundation of educational care and student success. iLEAD has impacted thousands of children and families. To see iLEAD continue to grow and expand is amazing. To see us help change lives is the very reason I stayed with iLEAD. I’m helping dreams become reality and that’s more than I could ever ask for in a career.