In collaboration with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®), Surry County Schools has defined 3 leadership focus areas — leading self, leading with others, and changing your world — for a first-of-its-kind district-wide leadership development initiative that includes training for teachers, students, school-level, and district-level leaders.
Over the next 5 years, The Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation will invest $400,000 in this CCL-led initiative. The program, also funded by a Surry County Schools federal grant, supports the school district’s mission to foster a culture of leadership that will equip all individuals with the skills necessary to live, learn, and lead as productive citizens.
According to CCL research, leadership development for both students and adults in schools is related to better school climate, improved levels of trust, more collective efficacy, and lower adult attrition rates — all of which lead to improved socioeconomic and academic outcomes for students.
“We believe that everyone has the capacity for leadership, and, as an organization, it is our responsibility to provide leadership development opportunities for all staff and students,” says Surry County Schools Superintendent Travis L. Reeves. “Making leadership development accessible to all will help us fulfill our mission of empowering youth to grow as citizen leaders and to achieve their dreams.”
Fueled by an initial $150,000 grant from the Armfield Foundation, Surry County School System’s partnership with CCL began in 2018 with the development of a leadership framework and pilot leadership academies for teachers and assistant principals. Following the success of this early work, CCL’s K-12 team is working collaboratively with Surry County Schools to provide leadership development opportunities to all administrators, teachers, staff, and students in the district’s 19 schools.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Armfield Foundation, we are so proud to invest in the amazing leaders in Surry County through their partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership. We believe in the power of leadership development and know that our investment is creating real change in Surry County, North Carolina, and beyond,” says Mindy Oakley, executive director of the Armfield Foundation.
“We are so grateful to the Armfield Foundation for believing and investing in the power of leadership development to transform the lives of students, teachers, families and educational leaders in Surry County,” says Michael DePass, CCL’s director of leadership development for K-12 educational institutions.
“Our mission is to create leaders, and that’s exactly what this program is doing. It’s exciting because it’s not just focused on the people who would typically get leadership development, such as superintendents and principals — but it’s focused on every person in the system, all the way down to preschoolers,” DePass adds. “We’re looking at systemic leadership change across all role groups.”