FBINAA Magazine Q1-2022-final-v4
Cory McGookin ACADEMY UPDATE
F B I N A A . O R G | Q 1 2 0 2 2
A s my Jan. 28 retirement date quickly approaches, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to write one last article to my colleagues that can serve as a “farewell” as well as a “thank you.” It has been the honor of my career to be the Unit Chief of the National Academy. I often tell people that I Forrest Gumped my way into the second-best job in the FBI. A position in which I never dreamed I would one day serve. You may be asking, what is the best job in the FBI? That would be an instructor in the National Academy program. I was fortunate enough to start in that position in 2013. I absolutely loved teaching leadership to NA students. I learned long ago that I love learning and then sharing what I learned with others who also want to learn. I was paid to do that for the NA for four years, which I would have done for free. I discovered what many of you fellow instructors have probably discovered over time. You learn more through the stu- dents in the classes than anything else you do. With every class I taught, I was collecting thoughts, ideas, stories and information that could be used to inform future classes. I became a better instructor, leader, and person because of my time with you in classrooms. Every time you are promoted, you may gain more influence and power, but you likely lose some enjoyment. I found that to be true when I was promoted to be the Unit Chief over all the NA instructors in 2017. I left the best job in the FBI, but I was able to move to a more strategic view of the program and support the instructors. At the end of the day, I recognize that a large part of the success of the program is the experiences students have in the classrooms. Fortunately for me and you, the instructors at the NA are awesome. People come teach in the NA program because they care and they want to be there. It was a little odd moving into the position of leadership over my own mentors. As I expected, they didn’t always make it easy, but they definitely made me better. I will forever be indebted for my success to long time instructors many of you know – Kilbride, Coleman, Lewis, Pennybacker, White, Jarvis, Rebuck, VanVorst and many others. It’s December 2018 and I’m told to immediately report to executive management. That is rarely a good thing. I walk in and they close the door. “Uh oh,” I think. Bottom line upfront, I’m told they are moving me to a new job. I love my job and my heart sinks. I can’t imagine not being part of the NA. Then I get the news I wasn’t expecting – I’m being moved to be the Unit Chief of the National Academy starting Jan. 1, 2019. I went from deflated to elated immediately. A moment later, the gravity of the situa- tion hit me. The world’s greatest law enforcement education pro - gram was my responsibility. I truly believe that the NA has a role in the effectiveness of law enforcement and national security in the U.S. It has a role in the effectiveness and security internation - ally. It is really important. It turns out that I need not worry that much about the responsibility. For sure, it is a very important position, but I am just one of the many people who contribute to this unique thing we call the NA to ensure its success. There are literally thousands of competent, smart and dedicated people who all push in the same direction to keep this good thing going at a world-class level. I get an undeserved portion of the gratitude and apprecia-
tion for the program in my position. Actually, I should be the one giving the gratitude and appreciation. There are so many great people to thank that I could never do it justice even if I filled this entire magazine with names. Before I go, it is important for me to recognize my apprecia- tion for the NAA. Howard Cook has been the ideal partner for me. You have a gem in Howard. His leadership of the incredible NAA staff and his dedication to being a true partner to the FBI is a large part of the NA’s success. Thank you Howard. Thank you, John Kennedy, for your hard work and partnership in pushing for great training and education for law enforcement. Thank you to the entire board for what you do. I’m proud to have been a col - league to you all. By the time you read this, I will be retired but I won’t be gone. I will be a proud member of the NAA going forward, and I’m going to stay in the consulting, coaching and training space for law enforcement as I will continue to reflect the on things I learned from you all in hopes of making the profession better.
Stay in touch and stay safe,
Cory McGookin Unit Chief, FBI National Academy
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