Faculty Spotlight: SFC Al Conrad

What's your title at CLHS?
JROTC Army Instructor
Are you a Concordia alum or parent?
Class of 77; wife Gyneth class of 77; Son Bryan, Class of 2003; Daughter Angela, Class of 2006
When did you start at CLHS?
July 1994
Please describe your position at CLHS.
As the Army Instructor, I teach Army JROTC. Mostly leadership and citizenship classes with some psychology and critical thinking tossed in. Most of the program is emphasizing leadership through our co-curricular activities where the senior cadets as allowed to lead and make decisions. So I would say, most of our roles as JROTC Instructors evolve around the mentoring process. This helps the cadets build understanding that a leader is more than a boss and should take a genuine interest in their physical and emotional wellbeing.
What was your education that led you to CLHS?
I spent 17 years in the Army, with 16 of those years in Special Forces, working mainly in Counter-Terrorism and Counter Narcotics operations in South/Central America. I didn't get by degree until after I came to CLHS. I received a A.A. in Political Science.
What did you love most about teaching at CLHS?
What I loved most is the relationships that I was able to build with the Cadets. It's amazing that over the years I still have Cadets coming to my house and hanging out around the fire. Some of these graduated in 1995, and we are still great friends. These relationships never go away.
What's your favorite story about your time at CLHS?
There's a lot that stick in my mind. The one that I really love is when my mother passed away in 2005. We were sitting in the funeral home during the viewing, and in walks the entire Battalion Staff in full dress uniform, led by David Niblick the Bn Commander at the time. They stayed with me for over an hour, just being there and supporting Gyneth, Angie, Bryan and I. Poignant and touching. On a lighter note, my first year teaching, I was at the Rappel tower with four seniors, who will remain nameless, and just for fun they decided they wanted to see what the old sergeant was made of and they jumped me (not out of meanness). Well I put all four down after a few minutes, and they found out experience was a much better weapon than youthful vigor.
Who were your mentors in your career to becoming an educator?
Without a doubt, MAJ Tibor Bierbaum. He taught me that my role now was to grow the cadets. Everything was about them learning to lead, not about winning rifle matches or drill meets, but about them leading. His patience with me while I transitioned from Active duty to teaching was amazing and really helped me learn what my role really was.