Leshar McGhee ’94
“I really did walk around Crossroads for those four years feeling like I’d been handed a gift and should take advantage of it all before it disappeared.”
Dr. Leshar McGhee began her Crossroads career in the ninth grade. She had attended public school up until that time; when she was accepted to Crossroads, she felt like she had won the lottery. Leshar took dance classes at Crossroads throughout high school and joined the African American Parent/Student Network at a time when “students and parents were passionately seeking to diversify the student body and the curriculum.”
“I really did walk around Crossroads for those four years feeling like I’d been handed a gift and should take advantage of it all before it disappeared,” she says. “While waiting for carpool, I would sneak into orchestra practice so I could get a glimpse of students I knew would go on to be professional musicians. I joined plays as a dancer just to be a tiny part of the chaos and brilliant talent of the drama productions. I even spent many nights on campus in special class tutorials led by Mark Govatos for the AP calculus exams.”*
Leshar received her bachelor’s from the University of Arizona, a master’s in public health from Harvard University and her medical degree from UCLA/Charles R. Drew University. Still, she says, “I don’t think there was ever a time in my life when I was more inspired to participate in my education than when I was at Crossroads.”
Currently Leshar sees patients in the Olive View-UCLA Psychiatric Emergency Room. As a consultant with the UCLA Public Mental Health Partnership, she teaches county mental health workers how to more effectively treat their homeless, mentally ill patients. Leshar credits Crossroads for influencing her career path and her approach to both teaching and patient care.
“Crossroads nurtured my passion for social justice,” she explains. “Every day in the county psychiatric emergency rooms of Los Angeles, I’ve advocated for the most vulnerable populations. I’ve always been proud to reject the formal hierarchy of medicine and to adopt Crossroads’ progressive model of education as I teach my medical students and residents.”
*Crossroads has since done away with AP classes and now offers Crossroads Advanced Studies courses in a variety of subjects.