This summer, the center launched its first Campus Leadership Program, bringing together 163 principal supervisors, principals, assistant principals and teachers from 30 schools across seven districts for a week packed with workshops, site visits and learning sessions with renowned leadership experts.
The 2-year program represents the next phase of deeper engagement with Holdsworth’s seven partner districts, which began over a year ago with the superintendent and five leaders from central office.
“Principals are second only to the teacher in terms of direct impact on student learning,” said Kate Rogers, President of The Holdsworth Center. “Our philosophy is to first engage with administrators at the district level to lay the foundation for positive change, then bring campus leaders into the program so that everyone is singing from the same sheet of music.”
The session kicked off with Sydney Finkelstein, a professor at Dartmouth College and author of the bestselling book “SUPERBOSSES: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent.”
Finkelstein led workshops on how to be a superboss, defined as someone who helps others accomplish more than they thought possible. Examples include people like Bill Walsh, Alice Waters and George Lucas, who all share a set of behaviors that allowed them to mentor, grow and develop countless coaches, chefs and performers who went on to achieve amazing levels of success.
“Growing others is a high priority for school leaders,” said Nicole Cathey, Director of Holdsworth’s Campus Leadership Program. “For a school to be successful, one person can’t do it alone. You have to develop people and empower them to go forth and conquer.”
To see that concept in action, campus leaders toured local H-E-B Central Market stores in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex to learn about the company culture and talent development strategies that have helped H-E-B become one of the nation’s most successful retailers.
Experiencing firsthand how each Central Market Partner deeply understood the company values and brought them to life in their work — from selling exotic cheeses to providing an exciting workplace for every Partner to truly meeting customers wherever they are in their food journey — made a transformative impact on the group.
One participant said: “To instill pride and passion in their Partners from the very beginning and to maintain that culture on a day-to-day basis truly makes the difference in a workplace. I believe that is what we are lacking in our school. Teacher burnout is so quick to happen. Working in a positive environment like the one Central Market creates can make a big difference in what teachers put forth into their students and their classrooms.”
At Holdsworth, learning is a journey. There is no formula for change, no closing the book and saying, “Well, we’re done with that,” Cathey said. Each participant walked away with food for thought and at least one thing they would change right away, from abandoning the pursuit of perfection to saying “good morning” to people every day.
As one participant put it, “This has been one of the most energizing and inspiring programs I’ve ever attended. I have comfort knowing this is not a one-time training — I am looking forward to continued support over the next two years.”