Developing Strong School Leaders for the Future: Inside CA’s School Leader Fellowship

On a daily basis, we are confronted with the need for schools like ours to exist for hundreds of thousands of kids across the country. In America, the income gap continues to determine life outcomes, and far too few kids are prepared for college or the workforce upon graduating from high school.

CA is a network of three small, open-enrollment high schools. Our schools have highly individualized programming designed to support students with special learning and emotional needs and those who are far behind their peers academically as well as scholars ready to tackle college-level work. We are committed to growth because we know that more students can benefit from schools like ours, and we are determined to grow in areas where we are most needed.

In order to support this expansion plan, we recently announced an exciting new opportunity for aspiring school leaders: the CA School Leader Fellowship. This Fellowship will ensure that we have an active pipeline of well-trained leaders to launch new Collegiate Academies schools.

This year, three fellows joined our inaugural School Leader Fellowship. These fellows are all current CA staff members and they all have significant experience teaching at Collegiate Academies. Read below to learn about the fellows and about how the fellowship is helping to build strong School Leaders.

On the Fellows Book Club: Fellows read a series of 15-20 books, discuss the application of the books’ themes in their current work, and push themselves to implement learnings into their leadership immediately.

Kelsey Lambrecht: “There are two main things I took away from Primal Leadership. One is being better able to handle emotions, whether my own or others, and learning more about how that impacts my ability to receive feedback. The second is becoming more aware of the gap between what I intend to communicate and how I am perceived in that communication. After reading the book, I was pushed to have all the conversations I should be having but had previously been afraid to have.”

On their School Improvement Projects: Each Fellow identifies a school improvement project with the guidance of CEO Benjamin Marcovitz. Projects are designed to both address a real need within our schools while targeting specific growth areas that Fellows and Ben have identified.

Jon Bogard: “The leadership project is like an exercise designed by a Major League pitching coach that was uniquely created to match the particular form of a pitcher. Because the leadership project that Ben designed is so individually tailored to my particular growth areas, it has certainly been the biggest driver of my leadership development since joining the fellowship.”

On being coached by Chief Executive Officer, Ben Marcovitz: All fellows work closely with Benjamin Marcovitz, CEO. As the founding Principal at Sci Academy, Ben has first hand experience as a School Leader and now, as a coach of School Leaders.

Emily Aeschliman: “In the School Leader Fellowship, I am getting the best professional development I have ever received. I am growing so much. It feels like being in a grad school class. I love the intellectual stimulation of reading the works of others, generating ideas, then going to book club and being completely pushed in those ideas—-it’s fantastic. Ben asks questions to push your thinking, challenges your opinion, and makes you refine your thinking to really specific ideas, which makes them better. It’s really fun working with Ben.”

Jon Bogard: “Ben goes straight for the jugular! The feedback he has given through the School Leader Fellowship has been more personal, more foundational, and more far-reaching than any other feedback I’ve ever gotten. It’s the sort of feedback that doesn’t just make me better at my job, it’s the sort of feedback that will make me better at any job.”

Kelsey Lambrecht: “Ben genuinely cares about his people. It’s not a robotic, ‘This is what you need to do to be effective’ approach. Rather, I know that Ben operates with my best interests at heart, so I can be confident that all the hard feedback is in service of making me my best self.”

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