Home > Army Veteran Mentors at Excel Academy of Roseland

Veterans Day is a time to celebrate those who have dutifully served our country. Today we recognize Lisa Wilhite, a longtime employee of Excel Academy of Roseland, part of the Chicago Public Schools’ Options Network. Her strong dedication to the United States was ignited during college when she joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

Mentoring Students with Essential Life Skills

After leaving active duty and raising a family with her husband whom she met while enlisted, Wilhite transitioned to working in education. She joined Excel Academy in 2010 and as a native of Roseland, she immediately started forming strong bonds with students.

“I was so excited when I got the offer to work at Roseland that I dropped the phone,” said Wilhite. “I’ve been here since the school first opened and I still love mentoring our students. Sitting down one-on-one and teaching them is rewarding work.”

In her current role as a paraprofessional, Wilhite devotes her time to mentoring students, helping them achieve independence, and equipping them with essential life skills.

Her commitment to supporting Excel students goes beyond academics. She works with them to improve their life skills and mental health. She’s known for helping students recognize their potential and continuously reinforcing that success is not determined by where you come from.

A Unique Way to Experience the World

While Wilhite is a fierce advocate for education, she’s equally passionate about encouraging her students to consider a military career. She believes this not only broadens their horizons beyond the city of Chicago but also offers them a unique perspective on their country’s values. She beams with pride when sharing stories of two former students who went on to join the U.S. Army Reserve.

“The military not only teaches leadership skills,” she said, “but it also offers a unique way to experience the world.”

As we honor veterans, let’s celebrate heroes like Wilhite who seamlessly transition from serving their country to serving their community, making a lasting impact on the lives they touch.