Educator Corey Mitchell Sr. ’97 shared his views on leadership in a feature article in the Sept. 7, 2014, issue of the Post-Standard/syracuse.com.
Growing up on the south side of Syracuse, he described how his peers picked on him for doing well in school. However, his involvement with Boy Scouts helped him stay on track at school and in life.
Later, as a student at Fowler High School in Syracuse, he found ways to avoid his friends’ jeers by keeping quiet about his involvement in such activities as the Literary Club.
Today, as a sixth-grade teacher at Roxboro Road Middle School in North Syracuse, he teaches students a new motto: “Smart is the new cool.”
Mitchell, who was the first African American man to serve on the Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees, decided to become a teacher after receiving positive feedback and seeing the positive impact he made as a volunteer tutor at local schools.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in education at Oswego, he earned a master’s degree from Le Moyne College and has worked toward a Ph.D. at Syracuse University.
He pulls much of his leadership style from The Intentional Leader, a book by former SU Chancellor Kenneth Shaw, noting, “sometimes the leader has to know when to allow others to lead.”
“When you have a goal, don’t hem and haw,” he said. “Figure out what you need to do to accomplish that goal. Get in, get busy, get your hands dirty. Surround yourself with people who will support your vision and will move you along. That’s been my journey.”
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