The Leadership Academy for teachers in West Feliciana Parish began two years ago with the hopes of creating leaders from within the system. Many participants hope to advance into administration roles within the district. Others join the academy to learn about new advancements in education. “Our goal is to grow leadership from within and to provide all participants, whether they aspire to become an administrator on not, current research, policies and procedures as they relate to public education in West Feliciana,” said Superintendent Hollis Milton.
During the monthly meetings, participants hear presentations from leaders within the district on relevant topics, discuss a chapter in a book study and participate in various professional development activities related to educational leadership.
Additionally, each participant is required to create a portfolio filled with evidence that proves that West Feliciana meets the criteria of the new COMPASS leadership rubric now required by the state. Participants also have opportunities to job shadow with a local principal and to make informal observations of teachers to help understand the overall day-to-day processes at schools.
“The Leadership Academy provides a wonderful opportunity for West Feliciana teachers and administrators to collaborate on a regular basis around topics that directly impact student achievement. Teachers share ideas that are successful at their individual schools while building leadership skills across the district,” said Beverly Grant. Grant has been instrumental in creating the framework and overall organization of the program.
“Leadership development at its finest. That is how I would describe the Leadership Academy of our school system. The academy encompasses professional development, team work and job-embedded learning opportunities to prepare participants to assume the roles and responsibilities of being instructional leaders,” said Zanovia Curtis, District Instructional Coach.
At the first Leadership Academy meeting, participants reviewed critical components of the new COMPASS Leadership Rubric, completed an activity on Courageous Conversations facilitated by Zanvia Curtis and started a new book study on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with Bridget Plauche. After studying the book at the academy, teachers planned to bring many of the things they learned into their classroom.
The second meeting this year focused on professional learning communities, discussion of the book study The 7 Habits and a presentation by Bains Elementary Principal Abby Cochran.
“The Leadership Academy is an excellent opportunity for me to see and understand why public education works in West Feliciana’s schools. Our leadership’s emphasis on teamwork, professional ethics and attitude is just what I need to do my job better and to realize the importance of my contribution to student success. I am very thankful for this opportunity!” said Marjorie Dubea, a gifted elementary teacher.
“Participation in the West Feliciana Leadership Academy proved to be an invaluable experience. Not only did it give me insight into the inner workings of an entire educational system, it also provided a forum for discussion among my peers. Each supervisor shared unique job information, and each participant completed relevant assignments that were then shared among the group. When the year-long training was completed, I came away feeling informed, inspired, and enthusiastic about the prospects of leadership in our district,” said Patricia Robinson, WF High School Assistant Principal.
“We have so many dedicated teachers who we would like to see have an opportunity to grow into formal leadership roles. This program provides insight into these roles within the district and is a form of professional development for teachers who decide to continue to lead within the classroom. After all, teaching is leadership!” said Superintendent Milton