As 2009 comes to an end, few people are likely to regret its passing into the history books. The nation, our state and county, and most of us individually have weathered unprecedented economic challenges since 2008. After this troubled year, it would be tempting to just lay low as 2010 dawns, waiting to see what the new year will bring.
That won”t be the case in Gwinnett County Public Schools, however. January will find us continuing our work on three strategic initiatives of tremendous importance to the organization”s future. This is no time to be timid about moving forward with innovations and programs that will best prepare us for the better days to come. In fact, tough times today are the perfect time to act on opportunities to grow stronger for tomorrow.
The three strategic initiatives are significant in different, but connected ways. First, we are continuing the preparation and ongoing development of the leaders our schools will need to educate our 21st century learners. In January, we start the fourth cohort of our Quality-Plus Leader Academy for aspiring principals, and launch an Aspiring Leader Program for teachers interested in becoming assistant principals. At the same time, we are conducting leadership development seminars featuring national experts for our current school and district office administrators. Everything rises and falls on leadership, so we must ensure we have the best possible leaders now and in the future.
Secondly, we are in the early stages of revising our personnel evaluation system, an initiative that eventually will touch every school district employee. We will begin with teachers, however, because a quality instructor in every classroom is crucial to effective teaching and learning. The focus of the new evaluation system, which teachers will help design and we will implement in 2012–13, will be to provide feedback to help teachers become even more effective in their all-important work.