My name is Tommy Hamilton and I am the 2017 ACTE Fellow for the Business Education Division. When they told me I was going to have a mentor, I thought, “Great, another micromanager to steer me to the finish line.” But as it turns out, the word “mentor” can be both a noun and a verb.
Rich Flotron was a Fellow last year. This year, he is my mentor (noun). He will mentor (verb) me this year as I learn educational leadership. As I spoke with Rich, I began to form a picture of who he is and what his passions are. I did this before I looked at his photo, to see if I could match the persona and the face. Once again, it was a big no. This further reinforces my belief that book covers do not reflect what is actually inside them. As educators, it is incumbent upon us to always remember the book cover is not the same as the inside.
I have been in public education for a total of three years. I have also taught for the Federal Government. The majority of my time, though, was spent in industry, and I am rapidly discovering that there is a growing population of industry folks transitioning into education. Rich told me of his diverse background, of his family, and especially of his love of educational leadership. Ruining my perceptions again, Rich told me of his passion for education. What he said did not do justice for what I heard. What I heard was passion, drive, and real dedication, inspired by the desire to make a real difference.
The next thing I know, I am using that thing we call critical thinking. Oops. Here we go. ACTE is an organization where Rich and I and people like us get to expand our horizons. Perhaps make a networking contact, or even a friend for life. More importantly, ACTE allows us to move outside our sphere of influence to see how “other people” do this thing we call education. Then it dawned on me. Mentors are guides for the areas where we have little or no experience. As it turns out, I don’t know everything, and I do need a mentor (noun) to mentor (verb) me. Someone somewhere chose Rich for me. After talking to him on the phone, I feel certain a better selection could not have been made.
Business Education Division
Moore Norman Technology Center