M. Ed. Education Administration 08

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This portfolio is representative of the educational foundation I have been creating through Grand Canyon University's Master of Education in Education Administration. The close collaboration and interaction with my professors and colleagues have been instrumental in my growth as an educational leader.  However, the portfolio is mostly indicative of my educational and professional growth. My resume helps fill in more of the picture of my life, but this photo might put things into proper perspective.  

I am most proud of my service in the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army and our contributions in the Gulf War and the Panama Invasion. The photo I attached shows some of our battalion just hours before we boarded the planes to head to the Gulf as the first wave of U.S. soldiers in the gulf region. I was always telling the guys about military history and we wanted to follow the lead of the men of the 82nd who conducted combat jumps during the D-Day Normandy invasion. Those men had "Mohawks" as esprit de corps for an almost suicidal mission. In fact the Germans were so frightened by the actions of the 82nd paratroopers, their baggy pants, and strange hairdos that the hair cut evolved into the now traditional "high and tight" hair cut of the paratrooper.

We too, had a daunting battle order with little chance of survival. Not a single soldier belied any fear or hesitation, but all stood steadfast and honorable as expected of a U.S. Paratrooper.  I had just graduated from our Non-Commissioned Officers' Course and had become a Sergeant with my own team. The war was my first true test of leadership and my experiences in the Army will always be first and foremost in any leadership position that I undertake. Also noteworthy as an educator... I chose to become a teacher because of my duty in the war.

My First Sergeant handed me a letter one day, addressed to "Any Soldier." He said, "Sarge, you will read this letter, and you will respond." Of course I did. That letter and further letters with one young student in North Carolina multiplied into correspondence with his entire classroom throughout the war. They held a special day for me and other soldiers in my unit that also began writing to them. Their school had a "Field Day with the 82nd Airborne Division" when we redeployed home.  We shared our experiences and they put on performances for us. It was a memorable day for all of us.  

Some of the teachers recommended that I pursue teaching after observing me with the children... I took them at their word and the rest is history. I've been teaching for sixteen years now and am embarking upon a career as an educational leader and administrator.  I feel this is a tremendous opportunity to contribute to our country and to help children become all that they can be. Airborne All the Way!

By the way, a "Mohawk" isn't allowed in the U.S. Army as it is in fact deemed a fad haircut. Our First Sergeant made us shave off our heads immediately... we deployed mostly bald. That probably frightened people more than the mohawks did (I'm third from the left in the second row).
Author: Gary Fishel
Last modified: 12/18/2010 10:26 AM (EDT)