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Hospitality Educator Courtney Spinks' Story

Meet the Director of the Columbia Heights Educational Campus Academy of Hospitality & Tourism

Courtney Spinks is the Director of the Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC) Academy of Hospitality & Tourism. Her role is to connect high school students to various career opportunities and lead them to the professional world. She has an enthusiasm for helping others discover their passions and working with students to connect them with career options. Furthermore, she enjoys social advocacy, diversity, inclusion and social rights.

Ms. Spinks received her bachelor's degree at Hampton University, where she majored in Journalism and Communications. Six years later, she decided to go to Fordham University, where she received a Master of Science and Psychology. She started her career journey working for the College Board (a nonprofit that has a mission to expand access to higher education) as the Communications Director and was promoted to the Associate Director for Internal Communications. She learned so much from working in a nonprofit corporate organization. Ms. Spinks worked closely with the leadership team and really enjoyed launching new programs.

Working at the College Board was a great experience for Ms. Spinks and has led her to work with wonderful students at CHEC. She chose CHEC out of all the schools because she likes working with underserved communities and minorities. She also likes that it is a grade 6-12 school. Ms. Spinks really enjoys connecting students to post-secondary options and likes the college-readiness aspect of her job. It’s very rewarding for her to see incoming 10th graders in the hospitality program who flourish by their 12th grade year. She is very proactive with her students and thrives to get things done for them. 

This work always challenges her, and Ms. Spinks prides herself on being able to multitask. She wakes up very early (6 a.m.) during the school day and works with about 1,200 students every day. She begins her day working with the principal and planning the week ahead. Throughout the day she has more meetings and then leaves around 5:30 p.m., but sometimes not till after 7 p.m. 

The end of this school year will mark her five-year anniversary working at CHEC, and she plans to stay for longer. She has grown into the administration team and is very appreciative of her team, her principal and all the incredible students she works with. 

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