The Ripple Effects of Leadership

2020 Impact Report Executive Summary

2020 has taught us all many lessons, but especially this: leadership matters.

When the pandemic upended our world overnight, K-12 administrators and teachers faced the biggest test of their career. Their jobs became almost unrecognizable, requiring a host of new skills and capacities.

Through Holdsworth’s world-class leadership training, we saw that leaders at our 13 partner districts in Texas were better able to navigate the crisis while staying true to their values, and to seize opportunities for growth and change.

And while our leaders were rising to the challenge to support teachers and students, the Holdsworth team was rising to the challenge to support them. We moved all learning sessions online and brought in seasoned crisis leadership experts to help leaders respond to – and innovate through – this historic moment.

Navigating 2020

From prioritizing wellness and empathy to empowering teams and striving for equity, every part of Holdsworth’s curriculum helped educators battle through overwhelming circumstances and continue to lead with courage. One district leader put it this way: “The sessions are so timely, it seems to be just what I need when I needed it, even if I didn’t realize it.”

Those ripples of learning and growth radiate outward: The 121 campuses we served impact 10,350 faculty and staff and 119,171 students.

And to extend our reach even beyond our partner districts, we created 32 resource toolkits, video sessions, virtual events and blogs on various topics; 879 superintendents, administrators, principals and educators from 220 school districts accessed these tools and insights.

  • 232principals, teachers and administrators persisted through their two-year leadership program in summer 2020 despite the pandemic

  • 30experts from across the education, business and government sectors taught leaders about crisis leadership, equity, team building, change management and more

  • 12,345cumulative hours of learning sessions and coaching helped support and inspire leaders as they worked through challenges

2020 by the numbers

Quality of learning

Like many organizations, we worried that the pivot to online wouldn’t offer the full “Holdsworth experience” our leaders had come to expect. Yet we received some of our highest praise for online sessions.


of leaders told us the sessions were worth the investment in time

New district interest

We were also concerned about recruiting for our third cohort of districts in the middle of the pandemic. Over half of eligible districts expressed interest in joining the Holdsworth Partnership in summer 2021; 43 districts applied for six slots.


increase in district applications from the previous round

Personal leadership growth

But what we are most proud of is how much our leaders grew on their leadership journey.


of our leaders say they developed new beneficial behaviors and mindsets as a result of Holdsworth


of our leaders agree Holdsworth has been influential in increasing their focus on achieving excellent and equitable outcomes for students

District-level impact

At the system level, five out of seven districts who began the partnership in 2017 reported an improvement in their school leader pipeline, as measured by their ability to fill principal and assistant principal vacancies internally with great candidates. The same number of districts reported significant gains in staff engagement districtwide.

In Arlington ISD


of principal positions were hired internally in the 2020-21 school year

Teachers are


more likely to say that there is open, honest, two-way communication

We are a young organization with ambitious goals, but numbers like these give us hope that we’re on track to achieve our mission:

To impact, over time, the quality of K-12 public education for all Texas students by supporting and developing leaders.