Staying passionate in leadership

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Staying passionate in leadership

Kelly stands at his desk in his leadership classroom.

Kelly stands at his desk in his leadership classroom.

Kelly stands at his desk in his leadership classroom.

Kelly stands at his desk in his leadership classroom.

Kimiko Okumura, Highlander Editor

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Carlmont’s leadership teacher, Jim Kelly, was happy.

After graduating college, he was working a full-time job for the City of San Mateo, with great pay. But it was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

So he travelled for six months around the world to places like Australia, Thailand, and Indonesia. When he returned to California, he left his job at City of San Mateo and opened up a teenage coffee house called The Fishbowl.

He visited local leadership classes at schools, including San Mateo High School and Aragon High School.

Kelly said, “I saw how it was being run and I thought, that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

At that moment, he decided he wanted to be an ASB leadership teacher, because of the work schedule, having time to be with his family, and the opportunity to be with teenagers.

“This age group is so fun to work with because they are full of life and energy,” said Kelly.

In college, Kelly majored in recreation and administration, and specialized in outdoor recreation and leadership.

He met a professor involved in experiential education and adventure based counseling. The professor took groups on outdoor adventures, rock climbing, white water rafting, snow camping, and to ropes courses.

After meeting the professor, Kelly was hooked into the concept of experiential education, which is learning something by doing it. In Kelly’s current leadership classes, he does the same thing. He will give the students a task, and they will learn from it.

“That professor became a mentor in my life and gave me a passion for the field of leadership, outdoor education, and adventure based education,” said Kelly.

While he was working for City of San Mateo, his passion for leadership did not simmer. He worked for a special events company and put on Bay Area races like Bay to Breakers, San Francisco marathon, and other special events.

He continued to work for his professor as a consultant, running groups from the Diablo nuclear power plant. He took groups of their employees and ran them through team building workshops and leadership training.

Beside loving the concept of leadership, Kelly loves being outside and being by the beach. In his free time he likes to swim in the ocean, dive for abalone, and use his kayak. Two years ago, Kelly discovered crossfit training, and has loved it since then.

Kelly said, “When I was [first] at Carlmont, I started out teaching typing and computer applications, but immediately the job of activities director opened up and I thought ‘Yes thats for me!’”

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