ArmyEdSpace Spotlight

C. Andre' Daniels, National PTA

C. Andre' Daniels
Westampton, New Jersey
Director, Board of Directors, Chair Resource Development Committee, National PTA

As a retired Air Force Veteran, I could be best described as a zealous advocate for our children, our seniors and our veterans. Through service locally and nationally, I am proud to have been able to impact policy or laws that have moved their agenda forward.

How did you become involved with the Army?
I had the opportunity to meet Captain D'Angelo Loyd, U.S. Army Cadet Command, when he was appointed to serve on the National PTA Resource Development Committee. It was through our committee work and follow up dialogue that I learned about the rich resources the Army offered. Additionally I learned that Captain Loyd is a proud husband, father and local unit PTA member, in addition to serving on the Kentucky State PTA. National PTA already had a military and families focused committee, and with Captain Loyd's assistance, we have been able to have meaningful dialogue that has moved from a casual relationship to a formal one.

What were you surprised to learn about the Army through your involvement?
That the Army is the largest provider of scholarships in the United States. That 2/3 of America's youth aged 17-24 would not be qualified to enter the military today. I was genuinely surprised that a SAY (Strengthening America's Youth) committee existed to positively impact our Nation's children’s agenda.

How has your partnership with the Army made a difference to your organization?
Knowledge is power, and as an Association whose mission is to enable every child to realize their full potential, we have benefitted by being at the table with other organizations who are vested in improving educational outcomes for all children. National PTA has had ongoing discussions with Cadet Command, Recruiting Command, and Army Marketing and Research Group to become a primary partner organization via a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Army to advance initiatives such as Every Child in Focus, Parental Engagement, National PTA Schools of Excellence Program and finally the National Standards for School and Family Partnerships.

What has been your most interesting or memorable experience or interaction with the U.S. Army?
The 2014 All American Bowl proved to be an opportunity to meet and dialogue with some of the most progressive minds dedicated to enabling our youth across America to think critically and strategically in a world of ever increasing challenges. I also had an opportunity to speak with some incredibly gifted students who were participants in the Vex/Army STEM robot competition while marveling at some of America's best technology at the Army Strong Zone. Through all of this, I almost forgot that there was a football game to be played and that some of our best and brightest scholar athletes and musicians would have their moment as well. Perhaps the point of pride moment was meeting some of our warriors whose service will never be forgotten or taken for granted!

Why do you feel military service should be considered a viable post-secondary option?
Every day over a 180-day school year, 7,000 of our youth walk away from school, never to return. America ranks 17th in education globally and 24th in literacy. The Army presents a highly-functioning resource to help our students become globally competitive. As a veteran of the United States Air Force, I recall the value and opportunity I experienced as a youth with my entire future ahead of me. There was uncertainty and doubt; however, the military provided structure, opportunity and the ability to lead while gaining transformational knowledge that I've used throughout my life.

Why do you feel it is important to support the Army as a leader in your community?
The Army must and can make a difference. We must find ways to make our children's natural capacity for discovery and curiosity a dedicated focus of learning. STEM is but one tool. Our children need focus and structure and real world opportunities to succeed. If failure is not an option in shaping our future leaders, then our children's opinions need to be heard and what affects them most should be our top priority. James Baldwin once said, "Our children have never been too good at listening to their elders, yet they have never failed to emulate them!" As such, we must be the change we want to see in education that will produce our next leaders!


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