Introducing Paul Myers
Education has always been important to Paul Myers, the Academy’s Continuous Improvement Specialist and newest member of the staff. He’s from a family of educators with many of his relatives having worked for the Shelby County (TN) Schools.
“When I was a kid, like most families, our family got together a lot–especially during the holidays–and sure we’d eat, play games, and exchange gifts and stuff. But, what I’ll always remember are the discussions that ‘the adults’ had about the local schools. What was going right, but more so, how to make them better.”
Myers grew up in Memphis, but now considers Illinois his home. After arriving at Northwestern University in the summer of 1997, he fell in love with the Chicagoland area. While working at Northwestern University School of Law, Paul continued his education at DePaul University, earning a master’s degree in education. “I really felt that to make a difference...and to sort of keep the family tradition going, I had to teach”, Myers explained.
For the next six years, Paul worked in the collar suburbs of Chicago and Gary, Indiana, teaching history and mathematics, often to underprivileged students. He left the classroom, however, in 2012 to serve as an educational consultant and return to school. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying and researching educational policy. He notes, “As much as I enjoyed teaching, I felt like there were problems with schooling – conversations that I wanted to be a part of – that I could not address from my place in the classroom”.
He sees the work that he is doing now at the Academy as being a part of a natural progression.
“I’m really happy to be at the Academy. In education, there’s an ongoing discussion about career education and training. The Academy is uniquely situated both in the water-based fire protection industry, but also as a place of advanced learning. I think what drives the work here is a question that must be considered by adult educators everywhere: ‘How do we make sure that students and employers both get the best out of what we have to offer?’ ”
Currently, Paul’s duties with the Academy includes being the editor of Inside the Academy and data creation to help improve student outcomes. Data related efforts include analyzing previous tests given by Academy Exams, authoring surveys, and curriculum and pedagogy discussions with the academy’s teaching staff. Myers is enthusiastic about the work.
“I work with wonderful, intelligent people. I’m have engaging projects that will hopefully help us improve and serve more people. 2017’s gonna be a great year at the Academy.”