Erbey Valdez, principal of San Saba Middle School, will join ninety-nine other principals from across the state of Texas and head to Harvard this summer.
Valdez was selected to participate in a historic leadership program organized and sponsored by Raise Your Hand Texas, an education coalition founded and supported by some of the state’s most influential business and community leaders.
The announcement of the selected principals marks the first stage in the organization’s $750,000 investment in Texas educators. The principals will each attend one of four leadership seminars this summer at the world-renowned Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“These one hundred principals represent our belief that quality campus leadership is crucial to the success of our public and public charter schools. What these individuals learn at Harvard ultimately will have a positive impact in our classrooms,” said Bill Ratliff, former Lt. Governor of Texas and Raise Your Hand Texas Chairman. “Our goal in making the selections was to achieve the best demographic mix we possibly could, in order to achieve the maximum impact possible statewide.”
The Texas 100 come from 67 communities throughout the state. The selection criteria first looked to achieve representation geographically, followed by a mix of rural, urban and suburban districts as well as a balance of elementary, middle and high school principals.
Principals will depart for the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge beginning in late June. Institute offerings include: Redesigning High Schools for Improved Instruction (June 28–July 3, 2008); Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership (June 30–July 8, 2008); Leadership: An Evolving Vision (July 10–18, 2008) and National Institute for Urban School Leaders (July 20–25, 2008).
“We were delighted with response to program,” said Duncan Klussmann, Ed.D., Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program volunteer chair and Superintendent of Spring Branch ISD. “The Harvard Summer Institutes are widely recognized as the gold-standard of academic training, but it’s simply beyond the means of most school districts in our state to send their principals.”
One of the largest initiatives of its kind in the state, the Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program will cover the full cost of the Institute, hotel, air, and provide funds for incidentals. Total investment in the program is approximately $750,000.
While participating at the Institutes, the principals will be asked to blog their professional experiences, views and news for hometown colleagues, community and family. Later this fall, the principals will convene at a statewide conference to share experiences and plan their professional and leadership growth for the future.
The Summer Institutes at the Harvard Graduate School of Education will expose Texas public school leaders to the foremost national and international experts in the fields of education and leadership, as well as offer them a hands-on opportunity to work alongside renowned educators from across the country. Founded in 1981, The Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education has dedicated itself to the support, development, and improvement of school principals.
Since its inception just over a year ago, Raise Your Hand Texas has made important steps in advocating for priority education issues, including the accountability system, campus safety, enhanced teaching skills, and improved quality and access to prekindergarten. The Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program is Raise Your Hand Texas’ first initiative directly serving the campus level.