LeJuan Walker joined Communities In Schools of Durham in October 2014 as the Graduation Coach at Northern High School. A former teacher and mental health professional, LeJuan enjoys work with his CIS kids as a friend and authority figure.
What brought you to Communities In School of Durham?
I relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina, in July of 2007. Since 2007, I’ve worked in the mental health field primarily with kids ages 5-17. Prior to working in mental health, I taught third grade at a charter school in my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, for a year before moving to North Carolina. While working there, I learned how well I enjoyed working with kids and that I was sort of good at it. I take pride in being able to get on their level yet still maintaining an authoritative presence.
What do you hope to accomplish as a CIS Graduation Coach?
I simply hope to have a positive impact on any student I have the chance to work with—whether on my caseload or not. I think a motto that CIS has that I strongly believe in is being a “change agent.” I do this by simply being genuine, passionate, caring, and myself. This is all possible by always being willing to listen.
How have educators or mentors impacted you life?
Most of the educators that had a positive impact on my life were during college. Those impacts involved these particular educators asking me what I think in a sense of valuing my opinion. Even more, challenging me to improve academically and as a better person overall.
What's been your favorite moment on the job so far?
My favorite moment happened when I wasn’t able to return to school on the first day back from the holiday break due to travel complications. When I arrived the next school day those students I’ve built a rapport with were upset with me because I wasn’t there the previous day. Upset in a good way because they looked forward to talking with me. So throughout the day I continuously heard students ask about my whereabouts—even the staff noticed I wasn’t present. This made me feel accepted into the school and that my presence has some impact with those students/staff I’ve developed a relationship with.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel whenever I get a chance. For me, what I love about traveling is when I’m in another place time doesn’t exist whereas, on a typical day we are so fixated with time. I also enjoy reading. The euphoria of reading a book from cover to cover is an accomplishment or evidence of starting something and finishing it. Also, I enjoy watching a good movie as well as listening to music a talent I don’t possess but find so much satisfaction in.
What is one thing you'd like to tell the Durham community about CIS?
Communities In Schools of Durham truly has an interest and compassion about helping those students that in the program make progress towards achieving desired goals. I believe that CIS can be of use in many schools as a buffer between teacher and student/parent and administrator, or as a secondary counselor. We're really here to be a “change agent.”