HOUSTON – June 13, 2017 – Spring ISD school leaders recently completed a four-day Summer Academic Institute that focused on how they can use their collective knowledge and training to develop the district’s workforce to “Be the Change” that ensures each of the district’s 37,000 students can achieve academic success.
“Right now, we are focusing on empowering every employee in Spring ISD to be the change. We are all about impacting student achievement through engaging every single employee in the work, from the superintendent’s cabinet and school leadership office to the principals, assistant principals, teachers and students,” said Kimberly Fonteno, Spring ISD school leadership officer.
The four-day institute kicked off on June 5 with a keynote address by Dr. Kwame Simmons, an educator who has dedicated his career to serving students in the urban centers of Detroit, St. Louis and Washington D.C. He has worked tirelessly to turn urban schools into national models of success while creating an atmosphere that is both motivating and designed to raise student achievement.
Other notable presenters at the institute were Patricia Russell-McCloud, nationally recognized motivational speaker; Darryl Williams, senior fellow for school leadership with the Teach Like a Champion team; Cheney Munson, an expert educator in the subjects of reading and writing; and Alan Lawrence Sitomer, founder of the Writer’s Success Academy.
District administrators Michelle Starr, assistant superintendent for zone 1 elementary schools, and Pamela Farinas, school improvement director, work directly with school leaders throughout the year. In addition to being better prepared to support campus leaders, they each came away from the institute with a renewed sense of purpose and appreciation for the district’s commitment to building strong leaders.
“The Summer Academic Institute is about administrators becoming leaders who serve,” Farinas said. “We are here to fill up our ‘toolkit,’ because we want to be able to lead the change with our teachers on our campuses. When they need support, we want to be able to step into our classrooms and offer that support.”
The week’s agenda was packed with presentations that support areas of focus during the coming school year, including restorative discipline, cultural responsiveness and literacy.
“We are listening to our community; we are listening to our teachers; we are listening to our students; and we are hearing what they need,” Starr said. “For us to respond, we have to grow and perfect our own craft so that we can empower our teachers when we begin the new school year. Summertime is not a break – it’s a time to look at what we need to do for next year and get strong and get that one mindset so that we can be the change.”