Leadership development for education leaders

Helping education leaders maximize their effectiveness

The Leadership Development program provides support to individual leaders, schools and districts, and other educational institutions. Our work assists leaders in maximizing their effectiveness for the benefit of the organizations and the people they serve.

The Leadership Development team consists of more than 40 school leaders who serve as coaches, expert consultants and facilitators. The team is committed to being a resource and stimulus for schools and districts to grow and continue to improve, bringing a systematic, research-based approach to help our partners maximize their organization’s strengths, while attending to their areas of needs.  The team helps leaders and organizations identify their most critical goals, and develop initiatives and specific actions to achieve those goals.

Leadership development team

Marla Iverson, Director

Leadership coaching

We provide leadership coaches to school leaders across Central and Western New York. Participants range from those new to their position to those with more than a decade of experience; those struggling to find their way and award-winning leaders.  Coaches are available to anyone wishing to be better tomorrow than they are today.  Our leadership coaches enter into confidential relationships with those they coach and help them to better serve their school community. We provide coaching for individual leaders as well as leadership teams.

Strategic planning

The Center provides comprehensive strategic support to school districts and other educational organizations. We use Bryson’s definition of strategic planning as “a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it.” We believe the strategic plan must be owned by a broad range of stakeholders representing the full spectrum of the school community. The process to develop the plan must be transparent and inclusive, while the plan must draw on the strength of the community, in a responsible and achievable manner. Most importantly, the plan must produce action. In order for the plan to be meaningful, it must ignite change that ultimately results in higher student achievement, improved student life, and a greater sense of fulfillment for faculty and staff. A successful plan ignites a passion for real and sustained improvement in the entire school community.

The Center does not create the plan for the district. We provide thoughtful support, facilitation and research to guide the school community through the strategic planning process. We work with stakeholders to help the district see its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We will then help the district identify the most critical goals; we then work with the district to develop specific initiatives around the goals and support the district in developing action plans to achieve those goals over a three- to five-year period of time.

Administrative and board retreats

Leadership planning and retreats: We work with leadership teams, boards of education and community groups to build and enhance relationships to support increased efficacy and success.

Curriculum and program evaluation: Teams of Warner School of Education experts are assembled to conduct curriculum and program audits, including reviews of programs for students with disabilities and programs for English language learners. We are especially interested in helping districts move to a more equitable and just culture, and are available to consult on issues of equity and access.

Annual professional performance review support: We provide trained, certified individuals to support a school’s annual professional performance review requirements to conduct third-party, outside evaluations.

Problem solving: We are available to support schools and districts as they tackle unique and sometimes unforeseen problems. Our specialists can provide facilitation and support as educational institutions take on new challenges ranging from safety issues to cultural issues to planning and facilities issues.

Leadership Coaching Certificate program

The Center offers a Leadership Coaching Certificate program in partnership with the Ramerman Leadership Group, a local executive leadership development firm.

Leadership coaching assists the leader in developing specific leadership skills, enhances individual effectiveness, and ultimately secures organizational performance. There are two fundamentals beliefs in leadership; it’s a learnable practice and all leaders have the responsibility to develop others. This program creates a better understanding of one’s self as the foundation for leading change and transformation.

“My coach has guided me to be a better leader. Through our work together, I have been able to reflect on my leadership and push myself out of my comfort zone.” — Assistant Superintendent

“As a superintendent of schools, the Warner School’s coaching program has been incredibly helpful to me personally and to our entire administrative team.  The ability to have a thinking partner that can provide a wide-angle lens allows for the consideration of new ideas.  Also, when a coach gets to know you, they can push back when necessary and challenge us to continue our lifelong learning.  All of this allows us to be better servant leaders for students.” — Superintendent

“The coaching program has been an invaluable investment. Every leader needs a critical friend to help them remain focused personally and professionally in their leadership journey.  Coaching has empowered me to develop, nurture and sustain fundamental truths in my practice so I can meaningfully contribute to our organization’s vision of excellence.” — Superintendent

“Coaching is a transformative process by serving as a conduit to the deeply reflective practice critical for today’s educational leaders.  It provides an invaluable, confidential thought-partner for leaders at every stage of their career.” — Assistant Superintendent

“As a building-level administrator having a coach is incredibly valuable.  It provides an opportunity for professional growth through collaboration.  It gives you a built-in support system and a knowledgeable sounding board.  Every person should have a coach or mentor.  If you think about the very best person in any given field (sports, medicine, business, education, etc.), I guarantee you they have a coach or mentor.  Even the best want someone to help them get better!” — Principal

“Leadership coaching has helped me grow in my building principal position.  It has provided me with someone to help problem solve, collaborate, and communicate ideas.  My mentor helped me see the bigger picture when dealing with building level situations and recognize multiple ways to find solutions.  We focused on all aspects of school leadership, including professional development for staff, navigating parent concerns, special education compliance, and so much more.” — Principal

“My leadership coach has been an invaluable resource for me in a myriad of ways; professional dialogue and perspective, helping me to see facets of situations, sharing experiences, and as a confidant to help me wrestle with my own thinking. My continued growth as a leader, I believe, is in large part due to the coaching relationship.” — Principal

“The benefits of having a coach is the non-evaluative and confidential support I receive.  Having a sounding board to bounce ideas off and discuss sensitive issues allows me to focus on my job and not constantly second guess my decision making.  In addition, it provides me access to a strong educational leader who has been in the trenches before and can guide my own professional growth.” — Director

“As a first-year principal, leadership coaching was a lifeline for me.  Being able to talk through situations and questions with a veteran colleague was a huge support.” — Principal