NASDCTEc Spring Meeting: Cultivating Leaders: What Professional Development Opportunities Address this Need?

Education programs can only be as good as the people who lead them. But cultivating those leaders – from administrators, teachers, guidance counselors and others – is no small task. Indeed, all of these individuals have varied needs, but all professional development resources must be at the least relevant, innovative and effective to charge these stakeholders with the ability and confidence to take the helms of the education system. At our Spring Meeting last month, we dedicated a dialogue session to Cultivating Future Leaders through professional development. Our attendees had an opportunity to not only participate in their own professional development, but also focus in on leadership development opportunities and examples that they could bring back to their home state.

Professional Development Opportunities: ACTE

Steve DeWitt, Senior Director of Public Policy at ACTE, presented attendees with an exciting new professional development opportunity created in partnership with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) and the Successful Practices Network: the Institute for 21st Century Leadership. The Institute is focused on bringing together core academics and career and technical education through exceptional leadership (see brochure).  

What challenges are we facing?

  • We have 20th century teachers teaching 21st century students.
  • Our leaders, school principals for example, do not see the connections between career technical education (CTE) and school reform.

What are we doing to meet these challenges?

  • Developing the Institute for 21st Century Leadership, which includes:
    • An orientation session, leadership pre-conference, and networking with Institute members at the ICLE Model Schools Conference in Orlando, June 14-17, 2010.
    • A separate Institute program at the ACTE Annual Convention in Las Vegas, December 2-4, 2010.
    • A separate Institute program at the International Center’s Leadership Academy in January 2011.

What is the developing structure of the program?

  • Personal leadership (social, emotional, spiritual): how does an individual look at their leadership? The program goal is to improve your interpersonal skills to build your fortitude as a leader.
  • Organizational leadership: what are some of theories of implementing school reform and how do we get these into practice?
  • Educational leadership: how can we get our staff to be 21st century leaders in the classroom? Particular focus: leadership teams and CTE and academic teaching.
  • External leadership: How do we build parent involvement and community connections?

What are the primary goals?

  • Build up a cohort group of people we will train through this program.
  • Get our teachers trained so their work is relevant in both CTE and academic content.
  • Build this program from year to year.

Professional Development Model: Arizona, “Camp M&M”:

The work in Arizona, according to Milt Erickson, State Director of Arizona, is focused around eight functions throughout the year that culminate in a summer conference. At this conference, they have one day of professional development, affectionately coined “Camp M&M”. Last year, they offered 315 sessions for teachers and administrators.     

  • What: born out of the specific needs in Arizona.
  • Challenge: over the course of one year, they lose about 25 percent of the local directors
  • Response: a new person is intentionally paired with a seasoned veteran (they use the NASDCTEc state profiles to help compare and contrast when making the pairs)
  • Format: dialogue. The goal is to work together, therefore they are not lectured.
  • Goal: build and empower a leader.

Note: in Arizona, they have established “option C”, which helps bring business and industry people into the classroom. Option C gives individuals with business and industry content knowledge three years to learn pedagogy while they teach and they can become certified.

Professional Development Model: Arkansas, “Career and Technical Leadership Institute”

When Perkins was reauthorized, “the stars aligned” for Arkansas to do many things they had wanted to do, said John Davidson, Deputy Director of Career and Technical Education. Now they had two ways to spend Perkins dollars:

  1. Programs that lead to high skill, high wage, high demand jobs (3 year period of putting money into a POS)
  2. A project that would meet an indicator.

Due to the second option, schools set aside $600,000 a year for a reserve fund to pay for the Career and Technical Leadership Institute. This program is a specific professional development leadership academy.

  • For CTE leaders, teachers, workforce
  • Funded 100 percent through reserve fund (through reimbursement)
  • Close analysis of what works, what doesn’t work
  • Personal leadership development as well as organizational
  • Must apply to participate. Once you make the commitment to attend, you must participate in all eight sessions. If one is missed, you must drop out.
  • What was missing: our secondary career center staff should’ve been there


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