Leadership Development: A Systems Approach

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A strong leader may be instrumental in starting to turn around a low-performing school, but it takes a systems approach to ensure the transformation is sustainable.

Building systems of support for school transformation is the focus of a unique leadership development program at the University of Virginia, which is expanding its mission in partnership with WestEd’s Southwest Comprehensive Center.

Combining the talents and resources of the university’s respected Curry School of Education and the Darden School of Business, the program enlists state, district, and school leaders in the kind of executive education that traditionally has prepared business leaders to manage large corporations.

The School Turnaround Specialist Program places educators in boot-camp intensive sessions where the mind, rather than the body, gets conditioned. Participants analyze and apply case studies and work with school and school district teams to design 90-day action plans targeting urgent problems.

After experts visit the schools, they revise their strategies and engage in follow-up training.

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