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Les Loomis looks back on leadership

It was Loomis' political views that landed him in Columbia in the first place. Like many in his generation, the superintendent was opposed to the Vietnam War and decided to join the Peace Corps in order to avoid being drafted.

A decision he is glad to have made.

"I graduated from college and I went for a year of graduate school at the Harvard Business School in the MBA program, and I was going to get drafted and sent to Vietnam," Loomis said. "I strongly disagreed with the war in Vietnam so I entered the Peace Corps and that's how it all began."

Loomis said the experience changed his life.

"The Peace Corps was unbelievable, not only did I start out teaching but I had a chance to come to know so many Columbian people, I feel like Columbia has become a second country for me. I ended up staying in Columbia for a total of four years."

He also traveled throughout Mexico, Central and South America while in the Peace Corps.

Loomis landed his first teaching gig not too far from where he grew up, in the Rochester City School District. Working with a diverse student body, Loomis said it was a bit different than a suburban district, but described it as "an outstanding district."

"I taught at East High School, which was a very diverse student body. I loved the kids, they didn't have the same advantages that the Brighton kids had, Brighton is a school district just like BC," Loomis said, but added there were similarities, too, saying, "In both places kids are very much the same, because I think I there are a lot of similarities among people and both places the kids needed good teaching."

After three years of teaching in Rochester, Loomis decided to head back to Harvard to complete his MBA after being away for seven years. He then went on to get his doctoral degree in educational administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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