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- Campus a gift to educators from H-E-B Chairman Charles Butt
- A first in the nation – 44-acre campus boasts 18 buildings, indoor/outdoor meeting spaces for transformative learning & personal reflection
- Holdsworth partners with Texas school districts to develop a deeper bench of skilled leaders and create lasting change
AUSTIN – The Holdsworth Center, whose mission is to improve the quality of K-12 public education, announced today the grand opening of the 44-acre Campus on Lake Austin, a first-of-its-kind, $200 million facility for Texas educators designed to strengthen leadership in a systemic way.
Charles Butt, Chairman of H-E-B and founder of The Holdsworth Center, built the Campus as a gift for hardworking educators who deserve world-class professional development opportunities in a setting that rivals what CEOs and business executives experience.
“My hope is that the Campus will provide an inspiring place for educators to enhance their self-reflection, skills and creativity,” he said. “Our objective is to be part of a strong future for all Texas students.”
Holdsworth was founded in 2017 with a $100 million commitment from Charles Butt. That same year, the Center welcomed its inaugural cohort of seven school districts. In late 2018, the center broke ground on the Campus on Lake Austin.
At the lakeside campus, educators from across the state will have access to state-of-the-art classrooms, a 300-person lecture space, an open-air amphitheater, walking trails, 186 rooms for overnight stays and a two-story dock classroom. Click here for photos and more detail on campus features.
“For public educators, there’s nothing like this campus in the nation,” said Board Chair Dr. Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University and former president of Smith College in Massachusetts and Brown University in Rhode Island. “I hope it sends a message that the work of educators is vitally important, now more than ever. Their jobs are complex and require a great deal of skill and courage. All Texas students deserve access to expert school leaders.”
Human capital is the single largest investment K-12 districts make and why it is important to invest in growing the skill, ingenuity and effectiveness of the professionals who educate Texas’ 5.5 million students.
The choice to focus on leadership is strategic. Decades of research shows that effective principals can add nearly 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 educator in the school, their impact is outsized.
Through a five-year partnership with 13 districts, Holdsworth is realizing some promising results:
- 97 percent of leaders say the model has influenced their focus on achieving excellent and equitable outcomes for students.
- 96 percent of leaders say they developed new and beneficial mindsets and behaviors as a result of the experience.
- 100 percent of districts who started the partnership in 2017 reported an improvement in their school leader pipeline.
Six new school districts will be joining in July, bringing the total to 19 districts that collectively serve 730,000 students across Texas. Click here for more detailed data on each district.
The partnership involves teachers, assistant principals, principals and district administrators. Learning sessions with world-renowned leadership experts from the business and education sectors help to strengthen their leadership skills beyond curriculum expertise.
Starting in September, Holdsworth will launch two new leadership programs and expand their reach to up to 20 additional districts – a mentoring program for superintendents who are either new to the role or new to a large, urban district, as well as a program for a team of three central office leaders that focuses on the most impactful moves toward building a bench of strong leaders.
Both will be 18 months in duration and in-person learning sessions will take place at the new Campus. Recently retired superintendents Dr. Art Cavazos of Harlingen CISD and Dr. Thomas Randle of Lamar CISD will serve as superintendents-in-residence, coaching and supporting new superintendents to drive a vision for positive change while avoiding common pitfalls.
“The Campus has allowed us to expand our thinking on how we can serve more of Texas’ teachers, principals and district leaders who work across 1,200 public school districts,” said Dr. Lindsay Whorton, president of The Holdsworth Center. “As we begin the multi-year effort to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, across the state, educators are facing an extraordinary moment. It will demand incredible leadership, and we are honored to invest in educators at such a critical time.”
About the Campus on Lake Austin
Designed by Lake I Flato Architects and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects and constructed by The Beck Group, the 44-acre Campus draws from landscape elements through the use of stone, wood, metal and a combination of sloped roofs that evoke a Hill Country aesthetic.
The heart of the space is a commons and natural meadow, surrounded by 15 new buildings, spanning 173,000 square feet. Quotes highlighting the importance of education are inscribed on stone pavers and in other locations throughout the Campus, and books on education and leadership are placed in each room and in the library for visitors to read while visiting.
The Campus will permanently house staff and programs and serve as a dedicated place for Texas educators to learn, reflect, collaborate and create lasting change within their school districts to foster the next generation of leaders. When not in use by educators, it will serve as a private event and all-in-one meeting space for rental with proceeds supporting the Center’s mission.
About the Holdsworth Partnership
Partnering school districts receive a multi-year, strategic investment that will help their districts grow strong, skilled leaders who create supportive environments in which teachers thrive, and all students are poised for success.
All programming and support are covered at no cost by Charles Butt and other philanthropic supporters, estimated at $6 million per district.
- Delivering two-year district and campus leadership programs for multiple groups of central office and campus leadership teams
- 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 that infuse down into all schools.
- Providing districts with robust tools to measure district-wide culture and staff engagement and better understand students’ social-emotional learning.
Click here to learn more about each element and timeline of the 5-year partnership.
This long-term investment builds systemic change that starts at the top administrative levels and filters out through an entire school district. Combining leadership, culture and consistency
provides proven results where it matters most – the students. If the partnership is successful, districts should be able to sustain their own leadership pipeline and outcomes for all students should improve.
The Holdsworth Center
Driven by the belief that great leaders can push student achievement levels to new heights, The Holdsworth Center partners with Texas public school districts to help educators become experts at leadership, then grow stronger leaders within their own systems. Founded in 2017 by H-E-B Chairman Charles Butt, the Austin-based nonprofit works with partner districts for five years and makes a deep investment in leaders at both the district and campus levels. For more information, visit Holdsworthcenter.org