Staff Spotlight: Lakisha Wingard
This month’s staff spotlight honors Lakisha Wingard. Lakisha is our Director of Admissions and Coordinator of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging circle. She joined the Hershey community in 2016 and is celebrating her 6th year with us. She and her spouse have been married for 10 years and are the proud parents of three young learners, Juliana (10), Elena (8), and Walter, III (7). She, and her family, also cherish the love of their 12-year-old dog Mosley. Lakisha grew up in Racine, Wisconsin and Toledo, Ohio, and currently resides in Lyndhurst.
Prior to joining Hershey, Lakisha came from Dover, Delaware, where she served as Regional Director for a national dropout prevention nonprofit. Before her nonprofit work, she worked in college admissions in Minnesota and Alabama for nearly a decade. Lakisha is a strong believer in Montessori education and is grateful that her own children and family can be part of the Hershey community. Her favorite part of her work is her daily interaction with Hershey’s adolescents, children, families, faculty, and staff.
We cannot thank Lakisha enough for her contributions to Hershey. She is a valued friend and graceful guide and mentor to her fellow staff and students. It is an honor to have her as a member of our Hershey family.
Here is a short video as an introduction to Lakisha. Her remaining interview continues below.
Thank you for taking time to share with us, Lakisha. Can you tell us what brought you to Hershey?
Divine alignment is the only way I can explain our journey here! My spouse was an officer in the United States Air Force for 11 years and was separating the summer of 2016. We decided to set roots in our home state of Ohio, and we were seeking employment that aligned with our skills and personal values. I interviewed at Hershey Montessori School in July 2016 and was hired on my birthday. On our house hunting trip to Ohio, my spouse received a call for an interview with the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center. The rest is history. 😊
What do you do at Hershey that you find is unique to you?
What makes it unique is the perspective and experience I bring to the organization.
What has been your happiest moment to date?
The birth of my 3 children.
Do you have a favorite place to go?
Oh, the beach! How about a favorite movie, do you have one?
I love, love, love the MCU. My favorite marvel movie is Black Panther. The first time I saw it I cried because of the representation on the screen.
Making a note to watch that now. And who has made the biggest impact in your life and what does that impact look like?
My mom and dad have made the biggest impact and are the most influential people in my life.
That’s beautiful. Do you have a favorite quote?
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde
What is your favorite Hershey memory?
Most of my favorite memories involve interacting with the students and learning from them. I have always loved the Montessori Live program. Because my office is based at the Concord Campus, I am often kindly invited to have the Elementary students practice their presentations with me in preparation of the program. I still get blown away at how confident and knowledgeable the students come across in these presentations.
Tell us your favorite thing to do.
Nap or rest. “Rest is a form of resistance and reparations.” – Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry.
Love that! Care to share a little known fact about you?
I’ve run two half marathons: The Montgomery Half Marathon in 2010 and the Coastal Delaware Running Festival’s Half Marathon in 2016. I recently started back up running with a goal to complete a third half marathon in Spring 2022.
How would your friends and family describe you in comparison to how you would describe yourself?
My friends and family would describe me as curious and thoughtful. I would describe myself as a Jack and Jill of all trades. I am a naturally curious person, and I am always learning new skills, reading books, and enrolling in courses and webinars to enrich my personal and professional life. For example, I recently completed an AMI 6-12 Orientation course and I am currently enrolled in the AMI 3-6 Orientation course.
We love that you are a forever learner, Lakisha. Finally, can you tell us what drew you to Montessori?
Many schools and programs offer a high-quality education, however, Montessori education is not only about the academics, but also about developing the whole child to become a capable, productive, and fulfilled person who makes a positive contribution to the world around them. Since working at Hershey, I began studying about Maria Montessori, her philosophy, and her educational method. The idea of educating the whole child to prepare them for peaceful global citizenship strikes a deep chord within me.
Thank you for sharing so much about yourself, Lakisha. It has been a pleasure learning more about you. We appreciate all you do and your excellent book recommendations!