For the past 15 years, Public Education Foundation has partnered with the Hamilton County Department of Education to train aspiring instructional leaders. The year-long, 20-day Leadership Fellows program is designed to give emerging school leaders the skills and knowledge needed to participate in decision-making and school improvement. At an event hosted at Unum, over 150 graduates of the program gathered to reunite with colleagues, welcome the 16th class of Leadership Fellows, and celebrate the lasting impact of education leadership on public schools.
Rick McKenney, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Unum, welcomed graduates and guests by noting Unum’s long-standing commitment to leadership development. “Unum has invested in Hamilton County schools for years, and we have seen how collaboration among businesses, nonprofits, and the school district can really make an impact on student achievement. Leadership Fellows are a shining example of the power of networks, collaborative learning, and high-quality professional development.”
Rick Smith, superintendent of Hamilton County Department of Education, said the impact of Leadership Fellows has been tremendous. “More than 400 Hamilton County principals and teachers have participated in the Leadership Fellows program since it began, including 47 principals, 44 assistant principals, 58 department-level and central office leaders and instructional coaches, and 188 teachers. At every level in our schools, you can see the next generation of dynamic, engaged, and transformative leadership.”
Ann Kilcher, director of Leadership Fellows, welcomed members of Cohort 16 by underscoring the importance of the task ahead. “Nothing is more important than the work you do for students every day. The success of our children depends on the commitment of our leaders, and I look forward to working with you over the course of the next year to develop the incredible potential you have as educators, instructional leaders, and change agents.”
In closing, PEF President Dan Challener said, “Teachers determine the quality of a school. One of the best investments we can make is to ensure that our community’s finest teachers are ready and able to provide the leadership that every school needs. PEF is delighted to have been able to partner with Hamilton County Department of Education to provide Leadership Fellows program to Hamilton County’s finest teachers for 15 years. We look forward to continuing the program for 15 more years.”