On May 26, Shaunette Sellers, the spouse to the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence Commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers, received a warm welcome by the participants of her last Spouse Leadership Development Course.
The latest SLDC Class 70-011 occurred virtually over the last seven days and ended June 3.
Throughout the commandant's tenure, Mrs. Sellers distinguished herself due to her volunteerism, commitment, and motivation to learn.
"My desire is for the spouses is first to understand what the course is for and what it is designed to do," Sellers said. "The course highlights the role of a senior spouse as a member of a battalion command team and the advisor to the commander's spouse on all issues related to enlisted Soldiers and their Families."
Sellers recognizes the need for the SLDC to keep spouses informed on the changes that occur in the Army.
“Mrs. Sellers is a two-time graduate of the SLDC,” Michelle Mebane, the director of the SLDC, exclaimed to the spouses. "She went through the course the first time, while her Soldier [now NCOLCoE commandant] attended the Sergeants Major Academy. Then she enrolled in the course again, after CSM Sellers, became the commandant of the NCOLCoE; to remain informed due to the changes in the Army.”
Sellers added, “In order to mentor and advise, you must be informed and be present.
Over the last three years, Sellers mentored over 600 senior enlisted spouses through the SLDC.
“Three years ago, when we arrived, I immediately wanted the spouses to feel like they were becoming a part of a larger family as they participated and graduated the course,” Sellers said. “I wanted to personalize my interactions with the spouses to let them know how important it is to support your Solider and also promote self-care.”
Heather Henry, the spouse of the former NCOLCoE deputy commandant, Command Sgt. Michael Henry added, “she leans heavily on knowing yourself and taking care of yourself, your family, your marriage, and when that is right, the organization will follow.”
Known for her dedication and expertise, Sellers created a lasting impact on the spouses through the SLDC.
“She gives the next generation of senior leaders’ spouses real unbiased, sometimes raw truths about ourselves as spouses, our perceptions, and our role," Henry said.
Henry also spoke to the positive changes Sellers provided to the senior spouse panel.
"Her conversations in the panel are candid, there are no bad or wrong questions, and nothing is left off the table," Henry said. "She gives the spouses the reality of what lays ahead for these fresh senior spouses."
Henry added, "Shaunette makes sure they understand the gravity of the partnership of a senior leader in our Army and their spouse. That it is hard, 'it is lonely at the top,' but we have a place. Our role is integral."
Sellers added senior spouses from all ranks to the panel to give SLDC members well-rounded advice and expertise.
"It allows for multiple points of view to be expressed, and it also provides a platform for panel members to open up and share personal experiences and thoughts with the students," she said.
On the last day of the course, Mebane brought in SLDC representatives from the previous three Sergeants Major Classes, 67, 68, and 69 to join the Class 70 spouses in honoring Mrs. Sellers.
The spouses of Class 70 in true military fashion created an acronym to describe Shaunette.
“Supportive, unwavering, exceptional,” were just some of the words the Class 70 spouses yelled out over the screen.
The SLDC representative from Class 68, Cecily Kea, added definitions to the last name, Sellers. “S- is because you are a straight-shooter,” she said. “Because you tell it like it is, E- encourager, you remind us to be the best 'you.'"
Kea ended her statement by thanking Mrs. Sellers, CSM Sellers, and Ms. Mebane.
“We couldn't have made it here without all of you guys, and we just continue to strive and excel because we have those role models to look up to like yourselves,” Kea said.
During her closing remarks, Sellers reminded the spouses the foundation of the SLDC program was in place before she came on board; she added to it.
“I must give credit to my predecessor Mrs. Jane Defreese and Ms. Michele Mebane for playing a major role in building the foundation for the course and making it relatively easy for me to build upon,” Sellers said. “I also have to give credit to my mentor Mrs. Claudia Davenport for her support and guidance in building the course up.”
Seller’s ability to connect with the Senior Spouses during the courses and her continued support and dedication to the tenants of family readiness proved invaluable.
“My message to each class, Sellers said. “You have to figure out where you can make the biggest impact.”
"I want them to understand that they still have families and jobs of their own, and mentoring junior spouses and participating in organizational events is important. Yet, it's also important for senior spouses to develop a balanced approach to completing the marathon of being the spouse of a senior enlisted leader.”
She ended her remarks with a final thank you.
"Thank you for allowing me to talk about my time here and my interactions with the SLDC. SLDC is truly a remarkable program, and it's come a long way from when I first attended in 2006."
Team Sellers and their impact on the Soldiers, Civilians, students, and family members of the NCOLCoE will be missed but never forgotten.