Meet a Member: Leila McKinney

Image of Leila McKinney

This edition features Leila McKinney, Director of AIM (Aspiration, Inspiration, and Motivation) and the Student Disability Services (SDS) at Spartanburg Community College (SCC). Leila has dedicated the last eighteen years of her professional career to SCC. Prior to taking over the leadership of her institution’s SDS office three years ago, Leila worked mainly with the AIM program which is a Perkins Grant funded program with the purpose of supporting academic needs of students in her college’s vocational programs. She is not completely new to the needs of students with disabilities as her office was located right across from the assistive technology lab and the SDS office. Additionally, some of the students she worked with were also registered with and receiving services from the SDS.

Leila is a product of the two liberal art colleges in Spartanburg, Wofford and Converse. Wofford was originally founded as an all-male college and Converse as an all-female college; that was before Leila got to them. As a matter of fact, she was in the first group of females allowed to live on campus at Wofford during her undergraduate years. Following her graduate degree in Psychology, she worked as a mental health counselor, took a break to raise a family and later found her fulfillment in the higher education environment. Her higher education experience started at Clemson University as an admission counselor where she immediately found her passion of helping students chart their educational path. She worked at Clemson for some time before moving back to Spartanburg.

Leila has been a member of AHEAD for three years. In her words, “AHEAD has provided the soft landing place for answers to difficult questions and provides a great forum for new and seasoned professionals to interact.” She has found the organization to be supportive, empowering, and educational. Serving about 100 students with a wide range of disabilities at SCC, Leila wants to learn as much as she can to work well with students, advocate for their needs, hold them accountable, and manage her 18 staff members (3 full-time and 15 part-time). She has found the AHEAD organization and its North Carolina Affiliate (NC-AHEAD) invaluable in her professional journey. She has great admiration for AHEAD members as she has found colleagues to be open and generous.

Leila McKinney, Director of AIM and Student Disability Services
Spartanburg Community College
(864) 592-4926; mckinneyl@sccsc.edu