Not Your Average Advocate
Curtis Partee, At-Risk Coordinator/Student Advocate
Who couldn’t use a champion, supporter, protector or proponent looking out for their best interests?
Curtis Partee serves as Lakeshore High School’s At-Risk Coordinator or Student Advocate. As a Student Advocate, Mr. Partee’s main focus is to help any student who may be at risk of not graduating, to be able to wear that highly coveted cap and gown and carry a diploma that will open the doors to a brighter future.
If there is a student who needs a little extra help or an adult to listen to them, he’s there. Mr. Partee is well known for his ability to spark a conversation with just about anyone. He’s an active listener and excellent relationship builder. Partee meets people where they are at, without judgment of their choices, boosting their confidence and providing them with a focus to meet their goals – whatever they may be.
But Mr. Partee is not your average high school advocate that learned about their job in a classroom or out of a book. In fact, Mr. Partee has a lot in common with many of the students he works with, having grown up experiencing hard times of his own. He often found that the focus of school was not easy. Thinking that he would end up working in a school setting was something Mr. Partee had never imagined.
Although Partee had the dream of playing football, an injury caused him to take another path. Mr. Partee joined the Marines, which at the time he felt was the best option. Unfortunately an injury there led to his release.
When Mr. Partee was trying to figure out his own path, it always seemed to lead him back to positions focused on helping youth. Partee spent many years working at the Berrien County Juvenile Center before his interest in tennis led to a coaching position and a job as the In-School Suspension Supervisor at Dowagiac Union High School. That is also where Mr. Partee met a guy who would become an avid supporter of his work – Greg Younger.
Throughout his personal journey, Mr. Partee had many starts and stops with college, but he knew that he needed a degree in order to achieve the personal advancements he wanted for himself and his family. It wasn’t an easy path, but Partee persevered, working to support his family during the day and taking college classes at night.
It was one of these opportunities that brought Mr. Partee to Lakeshore High School, working once again with Mr. Younger. Mr. Partee brings his education and life experiences to our students, making a difference in their lives one relationship at a time.
When asked what advice he’d like to convey to the students he sees every day at Lakeshore, Mr. Partee said, “I think the most important thing is to know yourself. It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses, who you can trust and most importantly, that you are able to trust yourself.” Partee believes in building relationships with students, his peers and in the community.
Those who know Mr. Partee are eager to share kind words. Whether it’s the fact that students see him as “the fun guy in the cafeteria” or his co-workers remarking about his genuineness and thoughtfulness, it’s clear that Mr. Partee is a special person and valuable to our school district. Mr. Younger, who has known him for many years, shares that Partee “is very supportive of students within the school day but also outside of the classroom at their extracurricular activities. He’s always there to cheer them on and then follows up at school the next day, continually building relationships and supporting them as a whole person.”
We are grateful to Mr. Partee and the way he puts his whole heart into the work he does at Lakeshore High School. Please feel free to share stories of your positive interactions with Mr. Partee on our LEF Facebook page.