Fellows embrace leadership and learning at the 2016 Summer Institute

The Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders (School Leaders) recently welcomed the second cohort of principals selected for the Neubauer Fellowship in Educational Leadership to its 2016 Summer Institute. The Institute is the foundational event for Neubauer Fellows, kicking off a yearlong series of intensive, evidence-based leadership development. The 23 Neubauer Fellows are exceptional school principals with a proven track record of improving district, charter, and parochial schools in Philadelphia.

The Institute, held July 10-15, focused on specific themes such as “Defining and Communicating a Compelling Vision for Student Success” and “Building Effective Teams and Coaching for Results.” The themes were interwoven, designed to build upon the previous day’s lessons and to provide a comprehensive opportunity for the principals’ professional and personal growth as leaders in Philadelphia education.

One of the unique aspects of the Fellowship and the Summer Institute is that –  in addition to the curriculum being aligned to effective leadership practices within education – they are also infused with faculty from across multiple sectors, including nationally-renowned educators and successful leaders from the for-profit and non-profit fields.  Despite hailing from varying leadership roles, every speaker at the Institute provided frameworks and actionable tools that can enhance the practice of school leadership.

One of the speakers, David Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia, presented to the Fellows his strategy and leadership practices in turning around Opera Philadelphia, which has transformed over the last decade into an internationally-respected opera company known for innovative productions and programming.  Devan helped Fellows draw a parallel between entrepreneurial practices at the Opera and fostering innovation in schools.

The Fellows appreciated learning about leadership in various contexts and embraced the overall experience.  “I have never had such consistently excellent presenters and information. I appreciate the way that we were treated as professionals in every aspect of the week’s activities. Thank you for providing such a thoughtful, energy-filled and information-laden professional learning opportunity,” one Neubauer Fellow commented.

Overall, the cohort shared the sentiment. According to a survey conducted by Operation Public Education, a Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders partner, 100% of the principals in attendance agreed or strongly agreed that they would implement information they learned in the session in their leadership practice.

Presenters found the experience equally rewarding.  Dr. Eric Twadell, Superintendent of Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Illinois and co-author of the book Leading by Design: An Action Framework for PLC at Work Leaders reflected, “Having the opportunity to work with the Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders has been amazing. The work that [the organization] is doing to support school leaders in the challenging work of leading schools is a model for professional growth and development.”

Building upon the great success of the 2015-16 cohort of Neubauer Fellows, where all 17 participants were retained as educational leaders in Philadelphia, School Leaders looks forward to pursuing its mission to develop and support effective principals who improve outcomes for Philadelphia’s children. This important work is made possible by the generous support of the Neubauer Family Foundation.