DeKalb embarked on an aggressive journey to invest resources in order to develop leaders, so they can prepare students to lead and succeed in a rapidly changing world. DeKalb values leaders who have the skills and training to lead schools and district to increased levels of academic performance for all students. Because of the ever changing demographics in schools, leaders must be able to shape a vision for academic success; create a high performance learning culture; cultivate leadership in others; improve instruction; and know how to manage people, data, and processes in an era of accountability. Leaders must model high expectations for others to witness, and execute a vision for continuous improvement so that these expectations can become the new reality in DeKalb.
Leadership is the fundamental element that can drive an organization to tremendous success. There is quite a bit of research that validates the effect great leaders have on student success. In fact, the factor most often quoted as improving student success is the effectiveness of the principal as the instructional leader of a school. To be effective, leaders must have knowledge, skills, talent and dispositions that cannot be acquired in college courses alone, and cannot be mastered without opportunities to learn from outstanding leaders in the profession.
DeKalb is committed to “Transforming Leaders into Extraordinary Performers” who can deliver positive learning results for every student. Through each academy, aspiring and current leaders become students again in a customized leadership development model designed to ensure the district has the caliber of principals and system level leaders needed for the future. There is a need to have extraordinary performers if the district is to be effective with today’s changing conditions and rising expectations. To ensure that such leaders exist in every aspect of the organization, DeKalb is committed to devoting the time, resources, and attention necessary to develop “Learning-Centered Leaders.”
In order to achieve DeKalb’s vision and meet its strategic priorities, the following six (6) initiatives were created to provide opportunities for the district to recruit, employ, develop and retain dependable, committed and skilled leaders at all levels of the organization through a comprehensive process. These initiatives offer aspiring and current leaders the opportunity to engage in continuous professional learning that is structured around the eight Leader Keys Performance Standards:This academy is designed to develop future leaders who aspire to fill leadership positions (i.e., assistant principal, principal, district level positions, etc.) as they become available. For the academy to be effective, these leaders must have the knowledge, skill set, talent, and dispositions needed to support the district’s mission, vision, and strategic goals. The academy bridges the gap between theory and practice through the use of applied learning strategies. Aspiring leaders will participate in a Shadowing and Residency component with the support of a mentor principal and a Leadership Development Plan.This academy is designed to develop current leaders who aspire to become principals. It offers continuous improvement efforts aimed at increasing student achievement and ensuring organizational success. This customized leadership development initiative will ensure the district has the caliber of principals needed in the future. Aspiring principals will participate in a Shadowing and Residency component with the support of a mentor principal and a Leadership Development Plan.This academy is designed to develop, support, and assist new principals from the time of initial appointment until the completion of the third year of service. The focus is on providing valuable and meaningful information, practical strategies, and tools drawn from research in schools across the nation that are getting great results and exceeding expectations. The growth of each principal is monitored and supported through the use of a Performance Growth Plan that is based on the results of the Vanderbilt Assessment for Leadership in Education (VAL-ED), and a Performance Coach.This academy is designed to support leaders who are seeking central office positions in order to facilitate organizational conditions that sustain continuous improvement and increase student performance and success. Candidates in this academy will be able to become outstanding managers and educational leaders as they examine and apply a blend of educational theory, research and practice.This academy is designed to develop and support school- and district-based leaders on an ongoing basis through job-embedded learning. The focus is on continuous organizational improvement, effectiveness, and efficiency that is necessary to sustain a culture of success as evidenced through an increase in student and staff performance.
This multi-day summer event provides the opportunity to learn from distinguished national and state speakers, as well as from each other, by sharing best practices developed and tested in classrooms in the DeKalb County School District.
Monthly evaluations are administered after each Academy session to determine overall effectiveness, and the results are used to calibrate future session content and delivery.