Coach Highlight: Meet Montel

NAZ Family Achievement Coaches enroll families into NAZ and partner with NAZ scholars and parents to support their path to college beginning at birth. These skilled coaches are either from the Northside or have lived in similar circumstances as our families. The majority are located at partner schools and early learning centers, to be integrated into the scholar’s educational setting.

Given the pandemic, our coaches have been working remotely, so some families and scholars haven’t even met their coach in person! Every so often, we’ll be featuring a NAZ coach so folks can get to know them better. Up first is Montel!

Name: Montel Adams

Coach Location: Nellie Stone Johnson

Time at NAZ: I just had my three year anniversary a couple months ago.

What is a rewarding part of being a coach? The most rewarding part about being a coach is knowing that you are making a difference. I am so passionate about giving the children in my community opportunities, I am willing to do whatever I need to get it done. The future is going to be brighter for children in North Minneapolis and I know that. Working in my community, I realize that there are so many children with potential and are even smarter than me at that age. All they need is support.

What has been challenging about coaching during the pandemic? Because I am co-located (meaning, located at NSJ), not being able to be with my scholars has been hard. Its hard having a distance support system that’s efficient when at NSJ. The kids are huge reason why this work matters.

What is an ‘average’ day like as a coach? Everyday is seriously different. a typical day usually involves making a kid smile and having building relationships with families to ensure they are achieving THEIR goals. We emphasize their goals because we are just the passengers, not the drivers. We set goals, assess goals, complete goals – all while building relationships. Some days that means I’m in the gym literally in dress shoes playing hoops or that could mean talking on the phone with a parent for an hour setting goals around career or housing. I love my job!

What strengths do you possess that make you a strong, capable, kind coach? I think having empathy is one of my biggest strengths. I grew up in North Minneapolis literally a few blocks away from the school I am co-located at. I understand what [the scholars] are going through. Also, knowing the background of the people I work with is an asset. Black People are so strong smart and resilient that with the right support we can do anything – shout out to Barack Obama!

Outside of work, what are some of your passions? What do you spend time doing? I love listening to music and editing videos. I also have an 11 year old son that I love to spend time with. Big gamer, so I game with him… why not right?!

What is your go-to comfort meal? Chili OR mac and cheese, baked. I make bomb food but I get tired of cooking so let me know when we are having a potluck please and thanks!

If you could re-watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? Matilda or Harry Potter. Matilda I grew up watching daily and loved that she was so smart. Growing up where I am from, the narrative wasn’t always “nerds are cool” etc. That movie made me okay with being smart in an environment where that didn’t seem “normal”. Working in my community, I realize that there are so many children with potential and are even smarter than me at that age. All they need is support! And, Harry Potter, it’s just amazing creative accents and narrative. I love that stuff. I can’t explain why but Harry Potter is definitely the truth.

Thank you to Montel for sharing and stay tuned to see who we feature next month!