By Laura Lanford
Mayor Pro-Tem Quentin Hart, of Waterloo, IA, has been chosen as the 2012 Michael H.T. Lynch Memorial Scholarship Recipient. The scholarship provides funding for a city official to attend NLC's annual Leadership Summit.
Education is the foundation for success in both the personal life and career of Mayor Hart. Hart has worked in the educational system for the past 17 years, and has been employed by Hawkeye Community College for 15 years.
Education is more than just a career path for Hart, it is a passion. In his free time he gives back to his community by mentoring and tutoring youth and ex-felons, believing strongly "that we have to invest in the human potential of others." Aside from his work as an educator and educational administrator, Hart holds multiple advanced degrees and is currently a doctoral candidate at Iowa State University. In Hart's own words, "My philosophy for lifelong learning is very simple; as long as I am here I plan to learn as much as I can."
In 2008, Quentin Hart faced several major trials as a newly elected city councilmember. The first community crisis was the aftermath of torrential rain storms that ripped through Waterloo and damaged city landmarks, interrupted power service, and shut down businesses. These storms were followed by an extreme winter, one of the harshest in the history of Waterloo. Crime rates surged, and it was exposed that a former munitions plant was leaking toxic chemicals into the surrounding area.
Gaining the tools to tackle these kinds of community challenges was the impetus behind Hart's motivation to seek further leadership training with the National League of Cities. As he said in his scholarship application, "Those times have been very memorable, but they have brought me to the realization that I owe it to my community to be the best prepared elected official that I can possibly be. And that is why I am applying for the great honor of becoming a Michael H.T. Lynch Memorial Scholarship Recipient. The NLC Leadership Training Program is the premiere training for elected officials across the country. The resources that are shared and the contacts established are extremely necessary to propel me to greater levels of service within my community."
Hart is deeply committed to preparing himself for better service to his community through education, which reflects the values demonstrated in the political career and aspirations of Councilmember Michael Lynch, namesake of the Michael H.T. Lynch Scholarship.
Lynch, a former city councilmember from Kirkwood, MO, was fatally shot at a council meeting in February of 2008. Lynch was a tireless advocate for newly-elected officials, encouraging them to get involved in organizations in their community as well as their state municipal leagues, and to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered by NLC. He made sure they knew of opportunities to attend leadership training programs and were aware of scholarship programs that could help them along the way. Following Lynch's death, NLC's Leadership Training Council established the Michael H.T. Lynch Memorial Scholarship in his memory.
Quentin Hart was selected to receive the scholarship from a large number of essays and applications submitted by leaders across the country. Upon notification that he had been awarded the Lynch Scholarship, Hart stated, "I am so happy! I would like to thank the NLC and all that have worked to put this scholarship together in the name of Councilman Lynch. I feel blessed and honored and can't wait for September." Hart's passion for education, coupled with his enthusiasm for encouraging the potential for success within others, exemplifies the determination to make a difference and the eagerness for learning for which Michael Lynch is remembered.
In addition to his service as Mayor Pro Tem of Waterloo, Hart has served on The State of Iowa Educational Equity Community Board of Education (Community College Division). He is the Founder and Director of From the Heart: Waterloo Home Enhancement Project, serves on the board of the United Way, and is on the board of the Iowa Northland Regional Council Economic Team. In 2009 he was selected by the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) as a political delegate to Egypt.
For more information about the Michael H.T. Lynch Memorial Scholarship or the 20th Annual Leadership Summit, please visit the Leadership Training section on www.nlc.org. Or contact the Leadership Training Institute at (202) 626-3170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.