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January 2019 Team Leader of the Month: Donny Whitton, Johnson County Community College

Photo of Donny WhittonDonny Whitton of Johnson County Community College is our Team Leader of the Month! After serving 7 years in the Army as a combat engineer, Donny completed 2 associate’s degrees at JCCC and is now working on a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at Arizona State University. He plans to start an MBA degree in the fall. Additionally, he continues to take classes at JCCC and serves as the school’s VA Certifying Official.

Through his work as a Team Leader and Certifying Official, Donny’s already excelling in his chosen career path of working in veterans services and higher education. He notes that he’s confident his extensive PAVE Team Leader experience will help him in the future, because, he says, not many people applying for higher ed jobs have led a successful peer support program on a college campus.

As one of the longest-tenured PAVE Team Leaders ever, Donny has been involved in implementing and growing PAVE on his campus since Spring 2016. “We’re always trying to find new ways to identify veterans and get them involved in the community,” Donny says, and he’s accomplished this with initiatives such as the 2-day KCReCon conference, a convening of regional student veterans, colleges, and employers that he conceived and organized last fall. “This [KCReCon] was an excellent way to continue to build the bridge of connections between JCCC PAVE and our area partner universities,” said Kena Zumalt, the VSC at JCCC.

Donny says he’s particularly proud of how, as a Team Leader, he’s been able to help create camaraderie among the students vets at his school, aided by the way that the connections PAVE helps create form a kind of “mental health safety net.” We couldn’t have put it any better ourselves. Thank you for all of your terrific work over the years, Donny!