By Melissa Bower | Staff WriterJune 24, 2011
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (June 23, 2011) -- Lt. Col. Leonard Lira and Dr. Kevin Shea were recognized at the June 10 Intermediate Level Education graduation ceremony as the top military and civilian instructors of the year at the Command and General Staff College.
The instructors were selected out of several nominees in each of the five teaching departments at CGSC. They were nominated, and then evaluated by a team of faculty members. Lira and Shea will represent CGSC as Training and Doctrine Command selects Educators of the Year.
Lira, 17-year service member, has taught strategy and operational art in the Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations for the past two years at CGSC. Originally an armor officer, he switched to a strategist.
“I felt like when I left CGSC, I was really prepared to go to Iraq and do the duties I needed to do as a field grade officer and I wanted to make that same contribution back to the majors,” Lira said.
He left CGSC as a student early to deploy to Iraq in 2006 and served as chief of operations for Multi-National Division North. He returned to Iraq for a second deployment from 2007-2009 and served as S-3, then executive officer with the 2-14 Cavalry, 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.
Lira is married to Annette and they have two children.
Lira has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, a master’s in public administration, a master’s in international relations, and is currently pursuing his doctorate in public administration.
Lira said he enjoys the coaching and mentoring as part of his job teaching at CGSC.
“I enjoy the interaction with the students and helping them to learn what their profession is,” he said. “I like to see that inspiration " when they understand what they’ve signed up to do.”
Shea fulfilled a 26-year career in the Army before retiring to work in the corporate world. He voluntarily left a successful job at Sprint to teach at CGSC in 2002.
Shea, an Operation Desert Storm veteran, said he loves working with CGSC students and faculty.
“Many of us have worn the cloth here at the college and it’s an honor to teach those in uniform,” he said.
Shea has three grown children, one in the Marines. He is married to Ada Shea, kindergarten teacher at MacArthur Elementary School on Fort Leavenworth.
In December, Shea earned his doctoral degree in education through Kansas State University. His dissertation was “The Effects of Combat Related Stress on Learning in an Academic Environment: A Qualitative Study.”
Shea interviewed CGSC faculty, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a chaplain and several students about how combat stress affects their learning. One student said that after an episode triggered by a video clip, she was unable to concentrate for the rest of the day.
“We’ve had students walk out of class because of discussions or videos (that upset them,)” Shea said.
Students reported many stressors that interfered with their learning " anger, sleeplessness, marital stress, alcohol use " but all reported being fearful.
The symptoms could be alleviated through the advice of health professionals, diet, exercise and getting help, Shea said.
Students can also get help through the Army Physical Fitness Research Institute annex at 758-3439, Community Behavioral Health at 684-6771, or Army Community Service at 684-2800.
Shea’s study said combat veterans agreed with a statement that they’re unlikely to seek help until driven to do so as a result of another health issue or pressure from a spouse.
Shea’s study provided three recommendations for CGSC. One was to add an Army psychologist to the CGSC staff. The second was to add more predictability to the academic schedule, and the third was to assign an Army chaplain with specific counseling skills as the CGSC chaplain.
“It was a rare privilege and a pleasure to spend time with some of the Army’s finest Soldiers,” Shea wrote. “The men and woman interviewed for this case study selflessly donated their time in the interest of this research …We are indeed lucky as a country to still have fellow citizens who are willing to defend this nation and assume a post on the wall of freedom.”