School Leadership Initiative Meets in Chesterfield

Learn more about Ann Clark.
Ann Clark
District Advisor
George W. Bush Institute

The School Leadership Initiative team and the four participating districts met in Chesterfield to discuss effectively implementing a comprehensive principal talent management (PTM) framework.

Historic events such as the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis were used as leadership lessons in the most recent George W. Bush Institute School Leadership Initiative meeting. The four participating school districts, Chesterfield County Public Schools, Fort Worth ISD, Austin ISD and Granite School District, convened for three days in Virginia with a focus on effectively implementing a comprehensive principal talent management (PTM) framework.

The school districts examined leadership decision-making; team dynamics; crisis management; and the importance of a leader surrounding themselves with divergent skills, competencies and viewpoints. The team also benefited from a session focused on the variety of ways to communicate wins and accomplishments.

The school districts left from this session thinking about how to effectively communicate the “why” of the PTM work to internal and external stakeholders. Specific next-steps were outlined to develop a strategy that includes multiple approaches to communicate with principals, teacher leaders, central office leaders, school board members, higher education principal preparation programs, and community foundations.

Districts were also able to share lessons learned and best practices with colleagues in a similar position from another district. In addition, district leaders from Broward County Schools and Tulsa Public Schools worked with the four districts to share lessons learned in their own PTM work.

Over the last 15 months, it has been exciting to see the progress in spotlighting the role of the principal as a key lever in school transformation. The districts have:

  • Identified competencies needed for a highly successful principal leader
  • Revised the principal job description
  • Designed a new principal evaluation tool
  • Repositioned the principal supervisor as a coach
  • Reviewed the principal recruiting and selection process
  • Collaborated with principal preparation programs to reimagine the program components
  • Redesigned professional learning experiences for teacher leaders, assistant principals, and principals.

The school leaders left the convening in Virginia reenergized to continue the work in fully developing the PTM framework for their districts. In addition, the convening always arms districts with skills and strategies to continue focusing on planning strategically, optimizing team function, building capacity of the district office team, over-communicating, and striving to continuously improve.

At the conclusion of the three-year initiative, each district will have made significant improvements to each of the components of the PTM framework and will have developed sustainable skills to continuously improve and have a functioning district office team.

As someone who believes deeply in the important role a school leader plays in success of each student, it has been thrilling to be deeply engaged in supporting these four amazing districts as they strive to build internal and external systems to prepare, select, develop, evaluate, and compensate school principals.