"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - John F. Kennedy
Sarasota County began growing their own leaders in 2003 when they were awarded a grant from Bank of America to fund a new position: Director of Leadership Development. The Superintendent at that time, Wilma Hamilton had the foresight to anticipate huge changes in the future due to retirements and therefore recognized the need for the School System to become more proactive in developing a deliberate career pathway and strong leadership programming for aspiring leaders.
A national research study (Schmidt-Davis & Bottoms, 2011) has confirmed that the school districts which have shown the greatest progress in student achievement are those that had the foresight to identify:
- the skills and knowledge they wanted in their leaders
- developed their own internal career pathways for these jobs.
The results speak quite boldly about the success of these efforts for over a decade.
- Nationally the average is 2-3 years and one out of every 5 principals leave their school each year.
- Sarasota County average number of years in the principalship is 8-9 years.
- From 2006-2016, 37 new principals were hired and only 6 were hired outside Sarasota County Schools (86%). 22 of the 37 were graduates of the Leadership Academy (59%)
- From 2005-2016, 66 new assistant principals were hired and 47 were internal hires (71%), and 42 of the 47 were graduates of the Leadership Academy (89%).