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Wyoming National Guard hosts 2nd Annual Educator Leadership Rendezvous

Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center held the 2nd Annual Educator Leadership Rendezvous last week, Aug. 2-4. The ELR is a three-day event that brings together Wyoming teachers, counselors, and principals from across the state to learn about the military. Educators learn leadership and culture-building strategies from this event through a military lens.

“Hosting Wyoming educators is a highlight of the summer for us. Our partnership with the Department of Education takes center stage during this event. We love showcasing our various mission sets and training capabilities while connecting individual Guardsmen with the community leaders who care for Wyoming youth each and every day,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory Porter, adjutant general for the Wyoming National Guard. “They influence our future Airmen and Soldiers, and this event allows our educators to experience first-hand the National Guard and our role as the Sword and Shield.”

The ELR is a partnership between the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Army National Guard, and the Wyoming Air National Guard. The event is an opportunity for professional networking among educators across the state. One of the goals is to build morale and resiliency among educators in the field.

For educators, the ELR is open to Wyoming District Teachers of the Year, principals, counselors, and other educators that are leaders in their schools. Any military member, regardless of rank or occupation, can participate in the ELR. The plethora of experience, different backgrounds, and different career fields all further submit to what ELR is trying to accomplish, according to Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey McClary, a recruiter for the Wyoming Air National Guard.

“The overall goal of the ELR is to help build a partnership between the military and our educators,” said Robin Grandpre, project and performance manager for the Department of Education. “It helps build a stronger community of students for the future.”

The idea behind the event is to strengthen the bond between educators and the military to help meet the state’s goal of ensuring all Wyoming students are college, career, and military ready. The knowledge educators gain from this event can be passed on to their students, who might add the military as another viable path following high school.

“I think this event helps to break down some of the stigmas surrounding the military and gives the educators a little taste of what the military is like,” said Grandpre. “This is so they can take back great stories and recommendations for their students.”

The event asks educators to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Which is something that their students go through every day in the classroom. This event is a unique way to showcase the military without simply telling educators about it. Assigned to six squads, 20 educators and 11 military members made up this year’s participants. Their squad leaders included an Army National Guard member and an Air National Guard member. Squad leaders helped guide participants through challenging events as a team.

To complete individual events, participants had to model camaraderie, selfless service, and problem-solving, all essential aspects of leadership.

“This event will challenge our education leaders to the assumptions and perceptions about the intersection of a life in the military and the purpose of leading a classroom,” said Brian Schroeder, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Leaders are teachers, and teachers are leaders. The activities our educators will experience alongside our men and women in uniform will open minds and lift spirits.”

The participants were able to experience events that ranged from learning about different aircraft in the military, including catching a ride in a UH-60 Black Hawk, rappelling down a cliff-side, using military weapon systems, and as a finale, competing in a paintball event in an urban combat setting.  

Educators interested in participating in future ELR events, please get in touch with Robin Grandpre at 307-777-5315.