I began my MPA Journey 21 years ago (April of 2002) as a Youth Counselor at our Plymouth Campus, which was then called the Wreath School Of New Hampshire, while I was still finishing up my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Law at Plymouth State University. I thought it was just going to be a summer job but, I found the work of helping kids find a better life extremely rewarding and meaningful. I found myself wanting to do more in the field and organization so I could be a part of leading new initiatives and programs. Mount Prospect Academy was supportive of my growth and encouraged me take on new challenges from the very beginning.
From Youth Counselor, I continued to excel in our mission and earned promotions to Shift Supervision, then Community Leader (today’s Assistant Program Manager). The opportunities MPA gave me coupled with my drive and ambition to grow soon brought me the decision to take on even more responsibility when I was asked to be the Program Director for an upstart program, our now MPA at Campton Campus, in 2004. I took the opportunity and spent many a late night, past midnight, after shift, working with other leaders, Jeff Caron, Jay Marshall, and others, getting the building and infrastructure ready for students. Moving fire doors, running wire, laying down the kitchen floor, etc. into the early hours of the morning. With the building complete I started the admissions for 32 students and the Campton House thrived.
Through our successful upstart of the Campton program, I was asked to come to Pike and help with the leadership of our Pike program, then called the East Haverhill Academy. I spent 2 years on the beautiful Pike campus as the Program Director, working with the team to enhance services and supports to shape the lives of 24 boys and helping with the upstart of our first girls’ program with 8 students. Long hot days of fishing and haying in the summers and cold crisp days of skiing in the winter made it one of the most memorable eras in my career.
From my days in Pike, and having just chosen to start my Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Special Ed. Administration at Plymouth State University, Jeff Caron asked if I would come support our Day School in Tilton, NH the Life Centered Learning institute (LCLI). I then continued my work as a fulltime leader with MPA/Becket, supporting faculty and students on the academic side in September of 2006. As a teaching Assistant Principal, I again had the opportunity for immense personnel and professional growth, and found the same sense of accomplishment and reward in supporting students attend and succeed in their educational endeavors. Juggling a Masters program, working fulltime, and taking on another student loan wasn’t easy but, I spent the next 3 years at LCLI, teaching and leading the team, completing my Master’s Degree through night courses. Through this process I also applied and earned educational certificates as a Special Education Teacher, Principal, and Special Education Administrator. Year after year watching the joy in students’ faces as they received academic awards and graduated, only further assured me that this was my purpose in life.
In September of 2009, I was called on again to help revitalize 2 of our schools in Maine, the Central Maine Learning Center (CMLC) and the Androscoggin Learning and Transition Center (ALTC) as the
Head of Schools. Like our schools in New Hampshire, we served a population of both Day and Residential students. At this point I also started classes to complete a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies at the University of Southern Maine, for Educational Leadership, Special Education, and Superintendency.
I always felt, and saw the evidence, that if I put forth effort beyond just making it through the week, to take on more responsibilities professionally, and made the time and financial sacrifices necessary to grow as a person and professional, those toils would be an investment that would later payoff. MPA has always provided opportunities, support, and the flexibility for me to create new opportunities for myself and others, almost wholly unincumbered by internal bureaucracy.
None of the above accomplishments would have been possible without the support and encouragement of all the people I’ve worked with over the years…
….To Be Continued in Part II