Collinsville (Ill.) High School history teacher Kyle Gordon '98, MAED '08 advises the largest student government association of 20,000 high schools in the
U.S. The 2013 National High School Adviser of the Year is the first from Illinois
to be selected by the National Association of Student Councils.
Collinsville’s 400-member council is unique because its members are not elected; they volunteer to serve.
“I believe that everyone has the ability to lead,” says Kyle, who has advised the group since 2002. “Participation in Student Council should never be based on a popularity contest. If you want to help your school or your community, then you should be provided the opportunity to do so. Our student council provides all students the opportunity to help others and develop their leadership skills.”
Kyle tries to know as many council members as he can, whether in his classroom or working together on outside activities. “We pride ourselves on student service to the school and community. Student Council members over the course of the last year have donated hundreds of hours of service to numerous organizations. They lead activities in the community and within their classes at Collinsville High School. They work with the adults on the School Improvement Team to help better our school and they are willing to help others whenever and wherever there is need.”
Managing a 400-member organization is challenging but the rewards are satisfying. “To see the results of our many community service projects is amazing,” Kyle says. “I get to see firsthand what so many dedicated and caring young men and women can do when they work together.
“I love getting messages from former council members who have gone off to college, the military or the workplace, and they tell me what a profound impact Student Council had on their lives ...”
Kyle received a bachelor’s degree in social science in 1998 and a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration in 2008. McKendree’s teacher education program prepared him well, he says.
“It allowed me the opportunity to get hands on and real life experiences in the classroom. The program was more than just theory, writing papers or reading textbooks. McKendree’s willingness to get its teaching candidates out into schools and experience real life and hands on situations was truly an asset, both in the undergraduate and the master’s programs.”
Learn more about McKendree University, the Division of Social Sciences, or the Master of Arts in Education (MAED) program.