Fate led Mallett to journalism, now to Adviser Academy

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

Once again, in preparation for the Adviser Academy this year, the Yearbooks Blog will be previewing the annual summer workshop with “Inside Look at the Academy” – a series of Q&As with the instructors.

Next month, Leland Mallett, CJE, will get the opportunity to teach at Walsworth’s 2019 Adviser Academy when he serves as one of the instructors for the Academy’s experienced advisers track.

Mallett, a leader of the journalism program at Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas, has guided the Arena yearbook since Legacy opened its doors in 2007 and helped many students create award-winning publications.

This summer, he’s looking forward to sharing his knowledge with his fellow advisers.

How long have you been a yearbook adviser?

20 years

How did you become involved in scholastic journalism?

By accident. I wasn’t allowed to take woodworking in 7th grade and got stuck in a newspaper class. Then my senior year of high school, I had to drop a math class, so they stuck me in yearbook.

When did it become apparent to you that journalism was something you were good at, or had a knack for? And it could become a career for you.

I loved that first yearbook and knowing we made something that would last. I love the adventure of the process. From picking fonts and colors to planning photos; and from deciding which word fits best to opening the book for the first time. It hasn’t gotten old in 20 years.

What are you most proud of with the program you’ve built at Legacy High School?

I’m proud that most of my students are involved in other activities. I have cheerleaders, baseball players, football players, debaters, theater kids and more. I think my students are well-rounded.

What will you be teaching at Adviser Academy?

A little bit of everything. Most of my sessions have a twist on how to teach the information and policies and procedures in the classroom.

What are the most important things for yearbook teachers to focus on during the summer?

Getting ahead and having policies in place for next year. It’s hard to make things up on the go.

What lessons, or pieces of advice, are you hoping advisers will leave Adviser Academy with?

My mentor gave me great advice years ago. “Pick one thing a year to get better at.” In year 20, I continue to do that. This year our focus is on deeper coverage – things we haven’t covered before. Year one was captions.


You can hear more from Mallett from his guest appearance on the Yearbook Chat with Jim podcast last August by listening below.


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Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is the Marketing Automation Supervisor for Walsworth. He's been a writer, editor and web content specialist for Walsworth for the past 15+ years, and is the author of the Yearbook Suite's "The Art of the Interview" unit. Prior to joining Walsworth, Blackwell spent five years as an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.