Education leaders have a lot on their decision-making plates. Many find decision making has become far more complex because of different levels of urgency and focus. Leaders routinely have to deal with issues as widely diverse as operations, instructional leadership, equity, and student safety. Bandura (2000), once stated “When faced with obstacles, setbacks, and failures, those who doubt their capabilities slacken their efforts, give up, or settle for mediocre solutions. Those who have a strong belief in the capabilities redouble their effort to master the challenge.” This is precisely why Dr. Jason Van Heukulem Superintendent of Winchester Public Schools (VA) believed that development of his senior and school level leadership capabilities could be key to more effective and efficient decisions. He had a “strong belief” in the capabilities of his senior and school leadership. He also knew increasing those capabilities around decision making could improve the pace, surrounding communications, and final outcomes of the decisions they face.
Fidelity plan maximizes results
With a staff that often wears many hats, Van Heukulem looked for ways to make decision making more manageable for them. To this end, more than 40 senior leaders including Superintendent, Cabinet, school‐based administrators, and instructional coaches were trained in TregoED processes. To maximize results of the training, WPS implemented a structured fidelity plan where each leader committed to facilitating each process in their area. They were also encouraged to share learning and insights. This commitment reinforced skills and improved results in all areas.
Processes helped district face budget inequities
As a result, “leadership gained a common language and process for decision making, leadership morale improved along with our effectiveness and efficiency.” These new skills allowed the district to confidently tackle a potentially delicate budget decision involving allocating money to support staff in their division. Faced with inequities based on job types, seniority, and market value-they knew they needed to have a transparent and data-based process to get the best possible outcome and support. Seeing the success of this budget process reinforced their commitment to using process across all departments, ensuring that key indicators, stakeholders and information are always considered.
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