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NOCTI is pleased to introduce Mike Kelly in NOCTI's Subject Matter Expert (SME) Spotlight.

What was your first encounter with NOCTI?
I was in Kansas City at a convention (tagging along with my wife). When we got back to the hotel, she asked if I talked to the NOCTI people as they were looking for Criminal Justice (CJ) Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). With an extra dumb look I asked "What is NOCTI?" She then went to great length to explain that it was the top national competency testing company in the US. I then went back to the booth, talked to the NOCTI person and applied for the first CJ revision. A few weeks later this small town country boy was headed to Grand Rapids for a week. There I met the wonderful people from NOCTI and it has been a love affair (at least on my end) ever since.

Please elaborate on some of the more interesting aspects of your association with NOCTI.
The greatest aspect of working with NOCTI are the people I get to meet and talk with about problems we all face in our jobs. In rural south Georgia, we sometimes believe we have issues that no one else seems to face. That is the wrong attitude; the other SMEs have the same issues and the information they provide is priceless. NOCTI has opened my eyes to many other issues around the country as I have had a chance to interact with SMEs from all parts of the country.

What was the most challenging part of the test revision process for you? What surprised you about the process?
The most challenging part is for me to get into the mindset of the student. I have been in law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole since 1977 so what is run of the mill to me may be a topic that should appear on the test for young students just finishing up their first years of a program.

The surprising part is how easily the NOCTI facilitator can channel a group of people who don't know each other into a team in about 2 minutes. I am amazed at how well SMEs from around the country with various backgrounds of education, work history, and knowledge merge together to boost each one's strength to the top in a short amount of time. I have witnessed it many times and have never walked away without a feeling of awe about how it happens.

What advice would you have for someone considering involvement in a NOCTI test revision or development project?
JUMP in with both feet. You will take away more than you give to NOCTI. The other people you meet online are a great source of information and ideas for your department, school, or class.

Tell us more about yourself.
In October 2012, I retired as a Chief Parole Officer for the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. I worked for Probation for 12 years and the last 18 was with Pardons and Paroles. I was an adjunct instructor with Parole with firearms, use of deadly force, and self defense my main areas of expertise. I taught Criminal Justice for East Central Technical College (now Wiregrass Georgia Technical College) for several years as an adjunct instructor. Currently, I am the Chief of Police for Wiregrass Georgia Technical College (part time) and a Deputy with the Ben Hill County (GA) Sheriff’s Department. I keep my POST instructor’s certification up to date and continue to volunteer to teach classes for several of the smaller departments in this area.

My unusual job is high school football. I have been an official for 20 years, calling high school football. Before my new job, I called all the lower grades so I called just about 3 to 4 days a week during the season. I do not see this as a job--it is a chance to be 17 years old again. Yes, my aches are worse and bones break easier but when the whistle blows it is all good. I have called with the same referee for 19 years and we plan to retire after the 2014 season (my wife does not believe me).

Anything else you'd like to add?
I have never been around better people than the people I have met through NOCTI.

If you are interested in serving as a subject matter expert for NOCTI, please complete an online application and submit a resume. Questions? Contact Julie Vanhala at julie.vanhala@nocti.org, or 800.334.6283 ext 243.

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