The Holdsworth Center welcomes full cohort of school leaders for study sessions with H-E-B, Ram Charan


For Immediate Release                                  Media Contact: Melissa Ludwig, 210-380-0733

September 13, 2017

(AUSTIN, TX) – For the first time since the program kicked off in June, The Holdsworth Center’s inaugural District Leadership Program is welcoming a full group of 42 public school administrators to San Antonio for a site study at H-E-B, as well as workshops with Ram Charan, a world-renowned business adviser, author and speaker.

The two-year District Leadership Program includes site visits to expose school leaders to other systems in order to stretch their vision of what’s possible. Workshops with top experts from around the country are aimed at helping them grow personally as leaders. The program began with seven superintendents and their district champions (one administrator selected from within their cabinet).

Today, the group expands to a total of six central office administrators per district, a team that will work to create and implement a strategy to transform the way their district manages the pipeline of leadership talent. The first cohort of principals from each district will begin a similar two-year leadership program in the summer of 2018.

“Lasting changes at any organization are rarely due to one person. It’s not about the individual hero,” said Kate Rogers, Executive Vice President of The Holdsworth Center. “The best thinking and work happens in teams.”

Since beginning the program in June, superintendents and their district champions have explored personal leadership with Hitendra Wadhwa, a professor at Columbia Business School and founder of the Institute for Personal Leadership, and visited Singapore to learn about how the nation has succeeded in building one of the best education systems in the world with a combination of culture and strategic talent management.

This week, the full group of 42 will convene to study how H-E-B’s people development and culture are a competitive advantage, and how school leaders can translate that to districts. Participants will visit stores, talk to store leaders and hear from top H-E-B executives such as President Craig Boyan and Executive Vice President of Partner Stock Plan and Partner Communications Suzanne Wade.

“High-performing organizations in both the private and public sectors share some of the same traits. They clearly define what great leadership looks like, they foster a culture where people are continuously receiving feedback and improving their performance, and they evaluate people with systems that help them grow, both in their current role and into new roles.”

Following the H-E-B study session, participants will spend a full day in workshops with Ram Charan, one of the world’s most sought-after leadership coaches. Charan has spent the past 35 years working with many top companies, CEOs, and boards including General Electric (GE), Bank of America, DuPont, Novartis and more. “Talent Masters,” a book he coauthored with former GE senior vice president of human resources Bill Conaty, was a national bestseller and part of a pre-reading assignment for the cohort.

“The caliber of people we are bringing to the program is a testament to how much we believe in public schools,” Rogers said. “Why shouldn’t schools have the same quality of leadership development as the world’s top private companies?”

Founded by H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt, The Holdsworth Center has the goal of supporting and developing public school leaders in order to improve, over time, the quality of education offered to every child in every classroom in Texas.

Through a unique set of experiences including international travel, exposure to the best leadership experts in the country, facilitated lectures with renowned faculty and group discussion, participants at The Holdsworth Center will explore their personal leadership in a setting that promotes reflection, thought and dialogue. Classes and team projects will focus on critical topics such as change management, effective teaming, aligned systems and structures and best practices in talent management.

The seven inaugural districts are Arlington ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, Klein ISD, Lamar CISD, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, Round Rock ISD, and Southwest ISD.


The Holdsworth Center

Headquartered in Austin, Texas and founded by Charles Butt, a lifelong advocate for public education, the Holdsworth Center will offer world class training and leadership development to school districts selected to participate through a generous multi-year investment.  Named after Charles’ mother, Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Butt, an educator and dedicated philanthropist, the Center’s goal is to successfully support and develop the leaders of the more than 1,200 school districts in Texas and the thousands of campus leaders in the state in order to improve the quality of education offered to every child in every classroom. For more information, visit