Q: Why did you decide to pursue a career in education?
Le’Joy: Education has been critical in my life. Growing up, I saw education as a means for creating new opportunities. I’ve always considered it very important, particularly for first-generation students and students of color. In today’s job market, it’s critical that your resume contain education or some kind of training. I’ve always focused my career in that area, working with everyone from little kindergarteners all the way through college students. Being able to see students’ progress and how they overcome obstacles at different stages is really enjoyable.
Q: You’ve worked in both school and community educational settings – how do those experiences relate to what you do now?
Le’Joy: I’m originally from Indianapolis but I moved away for about six years, living in Florida, New York, Washington D.C. and Baltimore before returning home. Education is a little different depending where you are. On the east coast in particular, there’s a heavy focus on community schools and bringing the community into educational settings, incorporating families to provide services to the whole student. There are so many needs in those areas and often, schools are expected to meet the needs of the students and their families.
At Kelley, we’re working with students who are adults, so there is a sense of independence, but I think it’s important to keep the family engaged because that’s the student’s support system. As an advisor, we do that by seeing students and parents at orientation and making them feel comfortable during the transition to college.
Q: How do you spend your time outside of Kelley?
Le'Joy: I like to travel to new places and try new things. Most recently, I went to Toronto. I’m also very active at Eastern Star Church. I sing in the choir and lead a ministry, teaching new member classes. Also, I’m about to start a PhD program in the fall, Urban Education, through the Department of Education. This program seems to combine all of my experience from kindergarten through higher education with an urban focus. I’m looking forward to it!