Follett takes charge

Now in his fourth year as the NJROTC Lightning Battalion Senior Naval Science Instructor (SNSI), Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Follett’s contributions to the unit’s achievements are as impressive as his prolific past. Following 28 years of service in the Navy, Follett continues to serve our community, connecting students to lessons of leadership, discipline and self-improvement. 

A South Florida native, Follett attended Dillard High School in Ft. Lauderdale. After high school, he enrolled in the Navy and continued his education, earning a certification as an aircraft electrician. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Columbia College while completing classes on base, a dedication shown throughout his almost three decades in the service. He ultimately graduated with a master’s in science from Florida International University. 

While on active duty, Follett served a 3-year tour as a recruiter, later becoming a commissioned officer in the Navy as an ensign rank in 2006. He also completed 6-month tours, working in aviation as a trained sailor and electrician. Follett visited nine countries throughout his work: Greece, Sicily, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Germany and Japan. He retired in 2018, and began his teaching career at Krop in 2019.

“I was originally supposed to work at a different school, but that fell through,” Follet said. “I was at an ROTC drill meet and I saw a friend I knew. I talked to her and it turned out it was Krop’s SNSI from before me. She told me the job was going to be open and well, I’m here now.”

Follett’s first three years as SNSI proved to be different than expected. The first year was spent learning, the second on navigating Covid, and the third on increasing enrollment (a now fixed issue).

Follett intends to continue this trend of prosperity, hoping to earn Krop the title of “Distinguished Unit,” the equivalent to “one of the best units of the year” award. To earn high titles like such, the unit must submit an end of the year report including community service hours, drill meet scores, academic scores, color guard stats, and even SAT scores from cadets. Schools are all judged by this report, which is used to decide which units to keep open and which to close.

Each Naval Science course follows the same core values: honor, courage and commitment; however, each instructor tackles these values differently. Follett’s approach focuses on two aspects of leadership: observation and guidance. Taking a student-led approach, cadets lead the class, while he is there to help with issues and advise them, if needed.

Follett is a great example of perseverance, loyalty and hard work. He spends his after school time, mornings and even weekends with the ROTC students; he watches their after school practices and never misses a drill meet.

“It makes me feel proud,” Follet said. “I see them grow up, I watch them from freshman to senior year and see how they mature. It’s rewarding.”