Giving many cause to celebrate the first day back to school in Boston, on Sept. 5 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $3.6 million grant to the Harvard Graduate School of Education (GSE) to fund the Change Leadership Group, a national educator leadership training program housed under the Programs in Professional Education.
The Change Leadership Group (CLG) will be the first such program in the nation to recruit, train, and supervise a network of education experts to deliver on-site training and support to school districts around the country. Using adult development theories on how adults learn, change, and develop, the CLG will work with school districts to identify organizational, structural, and cultural changes at every level to enable all students to achieve higher standards.
“The Change Leadership Group will address a key missing gap for improving student performance in our nation’s schools,” said GSE Dean Jerome T. Murphy. “While individual schools have boosted student performance and teacher capacity, no community has been able to take their strategies to scale across a whole system. To do this, outside ‘coaching’ must be both more effective and more widely available.”
Unlike conventional corporate consulting, where experts create a plan for change but are rarely involved in the implementation process, the CLG will support the growth and development of school leaders by drawing on their knowledge and working with them on the process of improvement over time. Using adult development theories on how adults learn, change, and develop, the CLG will work with districts to identify organizational, structural, and cultural changes at every level to enable all students to achieve higher standards.
The Change Leadership Group expects to develop a new certification program at the Graduate School of Education for Change Leadership professionals who become expert in helping districts implement new strategies. As this network of providers grows, the CLG will evolve into a new kind of not-for-profit enterprise — matching trained professionals to the communities that have the greatest need.
The CLG will be co-directed by Robert Kegan and Tony Wagner. Kegan, the William and Miriam Meehan Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at GSE, is a psychologist and nationally recognized expert on adult development, adult learning, and professional development. Wagner chairs the Harvard Seminar on Public Engagement, consults to numerous school districts and foundations in the United States and internationally, and is a frequent speaker and author on education reform issues.