In my 30 plus years in education, Holdsworth is the best program I’ve ever been through.”

Adrian Garcia

Chief of Technology and Student Services,
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD

An image of Adrian Garcia, Chief of Technology & Student Services at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD.

Holdsworth is helping me grow, not just as a leader but as a wife, a mother and a human being.”

Natasha Harris

Principal, Hale Elementary, Arlington ISD

An image of Natasha Harris, Principal at Hale Elementary, Arlington ISD.

Coaching has been the single greatest catalyst for growth in the Holdsworth program.”

Allie Martin

Principal, Klenk Elementary, Klein ISD

An image of Allie Martin, Principal, Klenk Elementary, Klein ISD.
Photo of Allie Martin, Principal at Klenk Elementary in Klein ISD, smiling in a campus hallway.

Holdsworth partnership

At Holdsworth, we believe strong, inspiring leaders make for vibrant, successful schools. That belief is backed by research showing that highly effective principals can raise achievement in their schools by as much as two to seven months of learning in a single year.

We start by giving individual leaders the inspiration, tools and resources needed to grow. Then we help them take what they’ve learned and adapt it, creating the cultural environment and systems needed to move other leaders through the pipeline in a thoughtful way.

Over time, our belief is those systems will become stronger by consistently cultivating leaders who can push student achievement levels to new heights.

We also believe the most enduring work is done by teams. That’s why we involve superintendents, central office administrators, principals and their core teams in the 5-year partnership.

Future cohorts

Applications for the 2023 cohort will open in Fall 2022. If you are a district leader interested in joining a future cohort or in receiving information about other learning opportunities, click below to sign up for notifications.

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A photo of Melissa Sestak and Quintin Shepherd of Victoria ISD during a Holdsworth Center District Leadership program session.

Our approach

Our programs are designed with the belief that 70 percent of a leader’s development occurs through job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others or coaching, and 10 percent from formal educational events. We strive to deliver learning experiences that span all three areas of a leader’s development. Working with teams allows us to bring a job-embedded component into every session we deliver.

Our theory of action is that stronger leaders will build stronger systems that achieve stronger results for students.

Stronger Leaders

01 | Develop personal leadership

To give leaders the tools they need to build a solid foundation, Holdsworth focuses first on the leaders themselves. Change starts from within. When leaders are willing to grow, others are motivated to follow.

Stronger Leaders

02 | Grow & empower others

Next, leaders learn to empower others, coach them to success and build high-performing individuals and teams. We believe this muscle is built through exercise and create space during learning sessions for deep practice.

Stronger Leaders

03 | Create change

After mastering key leadership concepts and studying high-performing organizations, teams create a clear and compelling vision for student success. Leaders assess their culture, develop a leadership definition, lay out a roadmap for developing future leaders and drive the needed change.

Stronger Organizations

04 | Pipeline of ready leaders

At the end of the partnership, the goal is for districts to have strong talent systems in place that consistently identify high-potential leaders and invest in their long-term development.

Stronger Organizations

05 | Engaged culture

For a vision to take root, it must be planted in fertile soil. Leaders work to build a positive and caring environment where educators and students feel engaged, challenged and supported. Sustaining that culture requires a steady infusion of inspiring leaders at all levels.

Stronger Results

06 | Excellent & equitable student outcomes

Over time, we believe growing outstanding leaders at all levels of a school system will result in better outcomes for students.

An image of district leaders smiling during The Holdsworth Center's program session.

How we invest in district leaders

District Leadership Program

Superintendents and their teams embark on a two-year learning journey that includes learning sessions with some of the nation’s top leadership experts and site visits to study high-performing organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Each team works together to define what great leadership looks like for them, then collaborate on a vision to identify and develop up-and-coming leaders from within the organization.

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District Support

To help build capacity and keep the work moving forward, staff members on Holdsworth’s District Support Team are embedded in our partner districts over the five-year period. They are a cornerstone in our model and a significant asset to our partner districts as they work hand-in-hand to take stock of talent management systems and design and implement new strategies that are built to last.

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Executive Coaching

Superintendents and their District Champion (a leader tapped to align the team’s efforts around the development of a strong leadership pipeline) receive one-on-one executive coaching, as well as coaching centered upon feedback from stakeholders. All team members form peer coaching groups to provide feedback and accountability to one another.

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An image of district leaders smiling during The Holdsworth Center's program session.

How we invest in campus leaders

Campus Leadership Program

Starting in the second year, cohorts of school principals and their teams take a two-year learning journey similar to district leaders, which includes executive coaching for principals. They also tackle a significant challenge tied to school culture and student outcomes. Rolled out in four phases, the program aims to serve 50 percent of campuses in each partner district over the five-year period.

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Program timeline

A vector graphic image of The Holdsworth Center's 5-year-long program timeline.
An image of district leaders smiling during The Holdsworth Center's program session.

Why Holdsworth?

We believe the benefit of a Holdsworth partnership is the potential boost in student learning that comes when great leaders are guiding schools. To help education leaders build an environment where students and teachers thrive, we provide opportunities to:

  • A vector graphic of a brain that represents the knowledge of our expert faculty.

    Learn from expert faculty and guest lecturers such as Hitendra Wadhwa from the Institute for Personal Leadership at Columbia University, Liz City from Harvard University, Jill Sharp from the Human Performance Institute, and Sydney Finkelstein, author of “Superbosses” and faculty director at Dartmouth University. Topics include personal leadership, communicating your vision, change management, team dynamics, coaching and mentoring, culture building and more.

  • A vector graphic of a handshake that represents our long-term partnership and embedded district support.

    Leverage embedded support from Holdsworth staff to help implement your strategic plan.

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  • A vector graphic of conversation bubbles that represents personal coaching and feedback.

    Receive personal coaching and feedback throughout the program to help refine skills and apply learning.

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  • A vector graphic of a personal network that represents building close relationships with peers.

    Build close relationships with peer educators, forming a network that will support you throughout your career.

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Districts in the Holdsworth Partnership

North Texas

  • Arlington ISD
  • Cedar Hill ISD
  • Dallas ISD
  • Garland ISD
  • Grand Prairie ISD
  • Mesquite ISD

Central Texas

  • Lockhart ISD
  • Round Rock ISD

Southeast Texas

  • Aldine ISD
  • Klein ISD
  • Lamar ISD
  • Spring ISD

South Texas

  • East Central ISD
  • Judson ISD
  • Harlingen ISD
  • Laredo ISD
  • Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD
  • Southwest ISD
  • Victoria ISD