We’re thrilled to announce our third group of six districts to join The Holdsworth Partnership: Cedar Hill, Dallas and Garland ISDs in North Texas, Laredo ISD, Victoria ISD and East Central ISD in San Antonio.
Over the next five years, Holdsworth’s goal is to help each district grow their own bench of strong, skilled leaders who create conditions in which teachers thrive and all students get what they need to succeed.
“Our ability as a state to recover from the impact of a global pandemic will depend on the skillful leadership of teachers, principals and district leaders serving Texas’ 5.5 million students,” said Dr. Lindsay Whorton, president of The Holdsworth Center. “We recognize the urgency of this moment and are honored to play a role.”
Collectively, these districts serve nearly 265,000 students at close to 400 schools and employ 36,000 faculty and staff. Read a Fact Sheet with more detailed data on each district.
Demand for leadership development is strong
The six districts were chosen from a pool of 43 applicants, a 130 percent increase from the last application period in 2019. Learn more about eligibility and the selection process.
The selection marks the latest expansion of The Holdsworth Partnership that is now serving 19 school districts in Texas. By 2028, the partnership is expected to reach more than 4,500 educators, including teacher leaders, assistant principals, principals and central office administrators.
We don’t believe there are any quick fixes in education.
With the opening of Campus on Lake Austin this summer – a permanent home for our staff and programs – Holdsworth hopes to expand program offerings and host events that will reach even more educators across Texas.
Investing deeply in people
All programming and support, valued at $6 million per district over five years, is covered at no cost through the continued generosity of our founder, Charles Butt, Chairman of H-E-B, and other philanthropic supporters.
That figure includes the cost of:
- Embedding Holdsworth District Support Team staff in each district for five years to help central office leaders design, implement and sustain their own leadership development systems
- Delivering two-year District and Campus Leadership Programs for multiple groups of central office and campus leadership teams
- Providing districts with robust tools to measure district-wide culture and staff engagement and better understand students’ social-emotional learning.
Learn more about each element of the 5-year partnership.
“We don’t believe there are any quick fixes in education,” Lindsay said. “Investing deeply in the skill and capacity of the people working in our schools is the only way we will see true transformation. This 5-year partnership will help leaders expand their view of what’s possible for their district, create a vision for change and drive the innovations needed to deliver on the promise of excellence and equity for all students.”
The choice to focus on leadership is strategic. Decades of research shows that effective principals can significantly impact student outcomes by adding around three more months of learning in math and reading during a single school year. Because principals influence the working conditions and skill level of every teacher in the building, their impact is outsized.
Over the 5-year partnership, districts work towards ensuring every school is served by an excellent principal with a goal of building a strong bench of candidates for each principal vacancy.
Spotting and growing outstanding leaders from the classroom to the superintendent’s office is complex work that requires:
- Communicating a shared vision of what great leadership should look like
- Creating a positive, caring learning environment for students and staff
- Building new systems and structures to ensure aspiring leaders are being identified early and given opportunities to truly prepare for the next step in their career
Investing in people pays off
Holdsworth leaders have shown incredible growth as individuals and achieved big gains at the system and school level. Around 96 percent of leaders say they developed new beneficial behaviors and mindsets as a result of Holdsworth; 97 percent agree that Holdsworth has been influential in increasing their focus on achieving excellent and equitable outcomes for students. Read more impact stories and see data.
“COVID has tested every structure in public education and fundamentally, our culture,” said Dr. Marcelo Cavazos, superintendent of Arlington ISD, one of the first districts accepted into the partnership in 2017. “What we learned through Holdsworth about how to communicate with transparency, to take input from staff and to value people in our district – it has paid dividends.”