By: Timothy Lawson
On Veterans Day, we honor those who have served our nation. For many Veterans, service did not end when they took the uniform off. Those like Kendrick Lusk, who retired in 2018, took their service to the classroom. Kendrick’s father served in Vietnam and his mother worked as a schoolteacher. He followed in their footsteps.
Kendrick’s military service began in 1993 when he joined the Arkansas Army National Guard. In 1998 he was commissioned as a military police officer in the United States Army. His service includes tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, and Cuba. One of his many unique experiences was providing security for polling sites and balloting materials during the 2005 elections in Iraq. Unfortunately, during that tour, he lost a soldier and 12 others in his command were wounded.
“That year was a tough year for me but was a defining moment for the rest of my career,” Kendrick said.
When his retirement from the Army was in sight, with his mother as his inspiration, Kendrick prepared for a career in education. His mother’s first job after college was a schoolteacher. Kendrick recalls being in the grocery store with her and watching former students approach her in admiration. One of his earlier memories from childhood was going to work with his mother and watching her teach.
“Some of my biggest influences were educators: my mother, my schoolteachers, even my drill sergeants.”
Many veterans earn education benefits through their time in the service. Kendrick paid for his certification using his Post-9/11 GI Bill. As he was ready to find a job in education, W. H. Burges High School in El Paso, TX was ready to fill a position. He began teaching just a few days after retiring from the military in February 2018.
Transitioning veterans have a quality skillset that they bring with them to the next season of their lives, and Kendrick knows his time in the Army has benefited him in his new career. He credits his military service for his ability to plan, communicate and listen. The resiliency he obtained in uniform was under very different circumstances but has helped him remain flexible and patient in his current mission.
Kendrick encourages veterans who are interested in education to pursue a career in teaching. Sharing the military story with its traditions and values is best done as a veteran teaching the youth. To Kendrick, teaching after military service is one of the most important things a veteran can do.
“It’s very important for us to be an example. We have a lot of things to offer our nation. There’s still a way to give back and be part of a team. Teaching is an opportunity for that.”
Individuals interested in pursuing a career in teaching should visit www.teach.org for more information and resources.