Firefighter Training, Firefighting

IFSI’s John Leonard named Instructor of the Month

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The University of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) recognizes instructors who exemplify quality instruction, student engagement, professional demeanor and knowledge base.  John Leonard is IFSI’s January Instructor of the Month. He was nominated by Sean Burke, Assistant Director for Firefighting Program for IFSI.

John joined IFSI as an instructor in 2005 when Associate Director Mac McCastland enlisted him to teach at the annual Fire College, when a firefighting class fell short of instructors. “I knew of John’s talent and ability, and he was at Fire College as a student so hiring him was a battlefield promotion,” McCastland said. “Since then he has been a true asset, always ready to work.”

John has been a member of the Chicago Fire Department and is best known for teaching in IFSI’s Chicago Intensive Officer Training Program. John also teaches in the HazMat program. “I met John 14 years ago in a class and was amazed at his dedication to the fire service. John bleeds fire department blue,” Lew Lake, Director for IFSI’s Officer Program, said. “I have never met a more humble and respectful human being in my life,” Lake added.

The Illinois Fire Service Institute is the statutory State Fire Academy for Illinois. In addition to training provided at its Champaign campus, the Institute offers one-day hands-on classes for fire departments at Regional Training Centers and local fire stations across the State.  The mission of the Illinois Fire Service Institute is to help firefighters do their work through training, education, information and research.