Lancer Spotlight 11/15: Nominee for the Veterans in Education Service Award, Randi Kirkland

“That’s important to me, to be proud of what I’m doing.”


Mrs. Kirkland and the other Veterans nominated for the Veterans in Education Award pose at the central office. (Courtesy of Aaron Phillips)

by Marissa Depalma, Editor

On November 12, Mrs. Randi Kirkland, English teacher, was our LHS 2021 nominee for the Veterans in Education Service Award during the Veterans Day Ceremony at the Central Office.

 Mrs. Kirkland served in the Air Force for nearly a decade from 1996 to 2005.

in the 90’s when many high school seniors prepared for college, Kirkland had a different idea. She joined the Air Force right after graduation in 1996. She didn’t think college was for her at the time because she didn’t know what she was going to study and didn’t have a financial plan. She wanted to do both so she went to college after the military.

I took pride in serving in the military and I think that’s why I like being a teacher because I feel that same pride.

— Randi Kirkland

“As far as a mission and a purpose goes, I felt that in that job,” said Kirkland.

Kirkland has three degrees that, in total, would have cost $100,000. Her college education was paid in full by the United States Air Force. 

During her time in the Air Force, Kirkland was a forecaster who talked to pilots before they took off, while they were in the air, and when they landed. She debriefed the weather to them so they knew what to expect while flying.

The experience, memories and lifelong lessons made it all worth while. 


Three years into her service, while stationed in California at Vandenberg Air Force Base, she met her husband, Justin. 

She also served as an ambassador.

“We entertained the troops, so I got to go to twenty different countries and all fifty states,” said Kirkland.

Okinawa in Japan and Spain were two of her favorite places.

Kirkland had to get used to the constant moves and had to deal with it without complaining. She was also exposed to so much diversity and new people.

A picture of Randi Kirkland in uniform while in the Air Force. (Marissa DePalma)

“The opportunities are endless,” said Kirkland. 

Kirkland strongly recommends going into the military for some students. 

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so it was a space filler. It’s one of those things where I can go do something meaningful while also figuring out who I am. It just gave me time to figure out who I was,” Kirkland said.

Service is also very dangerous physically and mentally. 

“You might go overseas. You might have to serve. After September 11, I was deployed to Diego Garcia to fly bombs as missions support. It’s very real. You have to make sure it’s what you want or are okay with,” said Kirkland.

Kirkland urges students to come to talk to her if they are considering this path and want some advice. Kirkland suggests to get in touch with a recruiter to figure out a plan if interested. Students can also prepare for the ASVAB test online, which is required to join.

Randi Kirkland’s Shadow box she has hanging up in her classroom. (Marissa DePalma)

“My door is always open for anyone who has any questions about the military,” said Kirkland.

Principal Cynthia Hanlon prepared the nomination packet, with letters of support from teachers and students.

Mrs. Kirkland’s current student Conner Jackson shares her best qualities, “just nice. Like, you can just talk to her and get things off your chest.”

Mrs. Kirkland cares for students and is someone who they can count on to listen to them.

Lancer Media thanks Mrs. Kirkland for her service.