ArmyEdSpace Spotlight

Dan Kelley, President, National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

Dan Kelley
Greenville, RI
High School Principal, Smithfield High School
President, National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

I am a high school principal from Smithfield, Rhode Island. I am currently on a leave from my position to serve as President of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). As a school leader, I have had a great deal of contact with local recruiters. We have also implemented many programs from the Army and the National Guard in our building. I also had the privilege of attending a joint training at Fort Leavenworth that combined high school principals and school counselors. This opportunity allowed principals and counselors an opportunity to interact with representatives from the U.S. Army, the Army Reserves and the National Guard. We learned a great deal about the options available to our students.

Q: What has been your most interesting or memorable experience or interaction with the U.S. Army?

I have enjoyed my interactions with local recruiters who have visited Smithfield High School. They bring a unique set of skills and experiences to share with the students. Students enjoy when recruiters share details about the jobs within the Army and the travel opportunities they have experienced.

My most memorable experience was my trip to Fort Leavenworth. This opportunity gave me access to a variety of military personnel. I enjoyed learning about the opportunities available in the Army. The level of access to high ranking officials gave me a unique perspective on the role of the Army in our country. I enjoyed listening to the officers share their career journeys. It opened my eyes to the possibilities the Army provides.

Q: What were you surprised to learn about the Army through your involvement?

I work primarily with high school students who tend to join the military right out of high school. I was not fully aware of the financial benefits of participating in the ROTC programs at local universities. I want my counselors to encourage college-bound seniors to consider colleges with ROTC programs.

Q: How has your partnership with the Army made a difference to your organization?

At my high school, we have utilized our recruiters to teach courses, provide rock climbing experiences, and participate in career day activities. The Army has also been a great partner with NASSP. Given how deeply both our organizations value leadership in our respective areas, we continue to benefit from a different perspective and different practices in leadership development. NASSP programs like National Honor Society and National Student Council also allow us to leverage that learning to give students an early start with developing leadership skills.

Q: Why do you feel military service should be considered a viable post-secondary option?

We are preparing students for college, careers, citizenship, and whatever comes next. The armed services depend on us to unleash the most empowered, adaptable, creative, cooperative critical thinkers in the world to advance our national defense. And likewise, we depend on colleges, corporations, and the armed services to provide a future worth preparing for. The opportunities available to kids--like those the Army provides--give us a reason to build students’ leadership early.

Q: Why do you feel it is important to support the Army as a leader in your community?

The Army and NASSP share a belief that we can build our common future only with effective, well-trained leaders to guide us there. The Army provides crucial opportunities for service and leadership that ensure we continue to progress as a nation.

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