In an instructor development class last year, Detective Michelle Palladini ’04 was asked to identify and present on the best instructor, teacher, coach or professor she ever had.
Without hesitation, Palladini chose Professor John Lanci because, in his religious studies classes, she found her voice and her love of teaching.
Standing before her law enforcement peers, Palladini explained how Lanci, who is now retired, structured his classes around a circle, which helped facilitate “wonderful conversations” with his students. “But he didn’t impose his views on us. He allowed us and challenged us to think for ourselves,” explained Palladini, who serves with Norfolk Police Department as a detective and a school safety officer.
Plus, Lanci’s feedback and opportunity to improve on her papers, many of which she has kept, prompted her to be a “better, more thoughtful writer...who knew three exclamation points could be so powerful.”
“For the first time in my life, I felt I had a voice. I learned that I held compassion in my heart and would carry this with me into my career in law enforcement, having compassion for others and being a voice for those who didn’t have one,” she recalls.
Fourteen years after graduating, Palladini believes she learned how to be an effective teacher by modeling Lanci’s approach. In particular, she see his impact on a program she developed called Leadership Empowerment Awareness Protection (LEAP), which combines social and emotional learning models and covers various topics to help students learn what it means to be a positive member of society.
“The LEAP program emphasizes many of the values Professor Lanci would promote in his classes; kindness, curiosity, service work. I train police officers in a mindfully compassionate way of policing, particularly our youth who face many challenges today,” she said.
A former member of the Stonehill College Police Department, Palladini, a criminal justice/religious studies double major, won the 2016 Award for Mentoring from the Massachusetts Association of Women in Law Enforcement.
Channel 25 in Boston has hailed her as a Hometown Hero for her work with LEAP. To see her interview, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMdN3WsBGKI&feature=youtu.be
The class in which Palladini gave the Lanci presentation was part of Municipal Police Training Council program that certifies instructors to teach in police academies and specialty law enforcement programs.