Amarillo College and Leadership Amarillo & Canyon announce LEAD Program

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Amarillo College and Leadership Amarillo & Canyon announced Amarillo College’s LEAD (Leading by Encouraging Attainment & Discovery) Program, a new partnership between the two organizations designed to assist and support students pursuing post-secondary education.

The LEAD Program will connect Amarillo College students interested in a professional mentor with alumni from the Leadership Amarillo & Canyon (LAC) program. Matches will be facilitated by the college’s social services department and will be based on the mentor’s educational experience and the student’s occupational and professional interests.

Amarillo College’s social services currently include a food pantry and clothing closet, counseling center, and career and employment services. The LEAD Program will supplement these efforts by providing students an individual mentor experience with a professional in the community.

Available this fall semester, Amarillo College administrators believe the LEAD Program will be a great service to the college’s diverse student population.

“Data shows that if students access at least one service, the retention rate fall-to-fall skyrockets, but their likelihood of completion or transfer skyrockets as well”, said Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, president of Amarillo College. “It shows that if we can remove a life barrier, and provide a coach, then we can improve attainment rates.”

“Every person’s background and educational experience is unique,” said Dr. Shauna Thornhill, optometrist, owner of Amarillo Vision Specialists and active LAC alumni. “We all recognize that our experiences and perspectives can provide a great service to students in our community, whether it’s helping a first-generation college student navigate new course schedules, helping a student plan a transfer to another college or university or simply supporting a student who may be navigating their pathway to success alone.”

Since 1981, the Leadership Amarillo & Canyon program has educated area leaders on the challenges facing our community. The 10-month leadership development program is designed to introduce leadership tools that will make better employees, leading to a better workplace, better families and ultimately a better community.

“Leadership Amarillo & Canyon challenges the way participants think about their community, their business and themselves,” said Lisa Blake, executive director, Leadership Amarillo & Canyon. “Our program introduces leadership development, community awareness and social consciousness to individuals who desire to make a difference in their community. The LEAD Program is an outstanding example of how our program’s alumni are finding new ways to connect with the community and make a positive impact.”

The LAC alumni association numbers are strong with thousands of professionals from many area businesses and organizations having participated in the program and alumni actively involved after the course concludes. Numerous area businesses send employees each year through the LAC program including Bell Helicopter, CNS Pantex, Amarillo ISD, Texas Tech, Amarillo College, WTAMU, Xcel Energy and many others.

Lowery-Hart said that members of the Amarillo and Canyon communities recognize the value of education and, through the LEAD Program, individuals are taking the initiative to make a difference in students’ lives.

“Amarillo College is proud to facilitate this type of engagement with regard to the education of our community.”

For more information about Amarillo College’s LEAD Program, contact Jordan Herrera at

(Press Release from Amarillo College)

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