Enlisted AFA instructor gives cadets perspective, shatters stereotypes
By David Edwards, Academy Spirit staff writer
/ Published February 18, 2011
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Cadet Wing has rarely seen the likes of Tech. Sgt. Romney Scheirer.
Thanks to her master's degree, the enlisted Airman now serves on the faculty at the Air Force Academy. That is a highly unusual combination, and Sergeant Scheirer knows it. Cadets in her leadership class are gaining a new perspective in both learning and leadership, because they are used to taking courses taught by officers or civilians.
"They can see how we are as leaders," Sergeant Scheirer said. "They can see that we're really not that much different than an officer, especially nowadays when we're talking in regards to education. Some of us have more education than some of the officers."
She began teaching in January, and she's pulling double duty as an Academy Military Training NCO for Cadet Squadron 39. Her road as an instructor began this past summer.
Impressed by her master's degree, Maj. Aaron Bell, Cadet Squadron 39's air officer commaning, encouraged Sergeant Scheirer to apply for a teaching job. Since January, she's been shattering a lot of stereotypes about enlisted personnel.
"Enlisted individuals have many talents ... and we really should open the doors for cadets," Sergeant Scheirer said. "The whole idea here with cadets is a leadership laboratory, so why not show them that not just an officer is a leader but enlisted are leaders, and oftentimes leaders of more individuals, more Airmen than some officers."
She believes her combination of roles helps her relate better to cadets because she sees more than just the academic side of cadet life.
"I think that the cadets value an academic course a little bit more than they do the commissioning education," she said. "As an AMT, I know what they go through. So I think having that kind of well-rounded understanding of what they're going through allows you to mentor them even more."
She attributed her ability to play both roles to the time-management skills her Air Force career has taught her. Without those skills, it would be impossible to juggle her schedule as required, she said.
The cadets in her class receive personalized leadership training. She challenges them to envision what kind of leader they want to be. But the learning is reciprocal, and Sergeant Scheirer said her cadets have opened up a range of new vistas for her.
"I'm very humbled by having the experience to do this," she said. "Just to be a part of (cadets') world, that is the biggest thing, because they're going to be officers one day. And if (I) have a positive impact on them as an enlisted person, wow, imagine what they're going to do when they're out leading enlisted troops. And that's what I really want to do while I'm here."