Lessons in leadership: Life after combat

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After 27 years as an aviation officer in the US Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pedro Almeida believes that all we need to know about leadership can be learned in kindergarten. “Be kind, treat people with respect,” says Almeida, who retired as a colonel in 2015 and is now chief operations officer of School District 49 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “And be sure everyone in the organization knows what the mission is.”

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to immigrant parents from Cape Verde, Almeida followed his older sister’s example and enrolled in Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) in high school. “I liked having a purpose beyond my own ambitions,” he recalls. “It sounds flowery, but if you’re in the military and you think it’s about you, you’re in the wrong place.”