Reflections on My Postsecondary CTE Mentor
By Lynne McCoy, ECMC Foundation Fellow
Last week I had the first of, I hope, many conversations/interviews with my Postsecondary Leadership Success Program at ACTE-Sponsored by the ECMC Foundation mentor, Dr. Alisha Hyslop — and it was nothing short of AMAZING!
After speaking with Dr. Hyslop for 60 minutes, I looked over my notes to review not only the practical advice and suggestions, but also, my thoughts, feelings, and reflection of the conversation and beginning of the mentoring relationship.
My professional career began in 1976. Through the years I have had many “bosses”, a few of which have ended up becoming mentors by default. When my encore career led me to education, I was assigned a peer-mentor my first year. The only thing I remember is that she walked into my Business Education classroom for less than 30 minutes over the school year and at my formal end of the year professional development plan, she started and ended with “You’ve got it going on girl”. This wasn’t the best experience for a new teacher—it merely checked the box.
Conversely, I have been a supervisor, a mentor assigned to new teachers, a secondary school administrator, and most recently, an unofficial mentor to several new Perkins representatives in our state. I’m not sure that I was an effective mentor, but I did research information on traits of a good mentor and tried to demonstrate these traits.
This program provided me with the unique opportunity to seek out a mentor that could help guide me in my current professional practice. I currently serve as the Director of Academic Outreach and Certified Perkins Representative at Bossier Parish Community College. The Perkins V legislation and how Louisiana has interpreted the legislation in the drafting of the state plan has presented both challenges and amazing opportunities to improve career and technical education (CTE) programs locally and regionally. As the regional lead for Perkins, I represent a 10 parish region in far northwest Louisiana. Important to me is the vision of developing clear, accessible CTE dual credit pathways that get high school students started on a path to earn college credit and gain career insight while still in high school so they feel confident and prepared to make choices on their education and career after graduation and understand the value of technical careers through CTE.
If you watch the news, it is not surprising the Louisiana has a high un- under-employment rate and a high rate of poverty. A June 3, 2019 report in BIZ Magazine stated “Louisiana has the second worst economy in the nation according to a new study.” Important to me personally are children, youth and young adults. I live and taught in a small rural community that is in dire need of economic development and opportunities for young people.
During our one-hour conversation I was able to develop a better understanding of the big, national, picture of the Perkins V legislation; specifically, as it addresses High Quality Programs of Study. I also was able to check off qualities in Dr. Hyslop that were identified when I researched successful mentor relationships. Some of these qualities I was able to identify in Dr. Hyslop in this short conversation were: taking a personal interest in the relationship; demonstrating a positive attitude; willing to share information, knowledge, and expertise; enthusiasm about the mentoring process and the topic; and willing to provide guidance, suggest alternative approaches, and investigate questions.
About the ECMC Foundation Fellow
Lynn McCoy is the Director of Academic Outreach at Bossier Parish Community College. She is an ECMC Foundation Fellow of the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program (PLSP) at ACTE – Sponsored by the ECMC Foundation. The program is part of ECMC Foundation’s CTE Leadership Collaborative Initiative.