Liberty County School System administrators gathered Wednesday and Thursday at the Performing Arts Center for a Summer Leadership Institute.
Keeping with the summit’s theme of “One Team, One Direction: Full Steam Ahead,” railroad-crossing signs, wood pallets of luggage and various other train-themed paraphernalia lined the center’s halls.
Executive-cabinet members, central-level directors, assistant directors, coordinators, principals and assistant principals broke into “travel groups” Wednesday morning to navigate the various focus sessions.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday, LCSS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Valya Lee delivered the keynote address, titled “Establishing a Positive School Culture and Climate.” Lee spoke of a “method to the madness,” and promised more stability in her second year at the district’s helm.
“We won’t be reinventing any wheels this year. We’ll be rolling the ones we reinvented last year,” Lee said. “We’ve built capacity in the district, laid the foundation so that we can do some good work for children and let the state know what Liberty County has to offer.”
Lee emphasized key practices for leaders, which included making data-driven decisions, promoting teacher/student efficacy, facilitating continuous improvement and engaging in accountable talk.
“The majority of the hires that I’ve done have been within this district — if people in this district applied,” she said. “But I’m going to have to hold people accountable, and so are you.”
Lee also stated that she does not want “oppressive environments” and said she strives to give educators the resources they need to be successful.
“My job is to give you what you need to do your job, and then support you as you do it,” she said.
Following Lee’s address, the groups splintered off for individual focus sessions. The sessions centered on such topics as the Liberty digital-learning experience, using data to help students succeed and how to handle adverse personnel matters.
Thursday’s agenda was heavy with data-focused topics, offering presentations titled “Data Driven Improvement Planning” and “Using Data to Make Wise Decisions,” delivered by Chief Information Officer Dr. Patti Crane and Director of Evaluation, Assessment and Accountability Dr. Jennifer Walts, respectively.
“I’ve often heard leaders say, after they’ve attended a leadership summit, how much they needed the reflective and renewing experience,” Lee said in a news release. “They are often amazed how people come back to their work — and even to their personal lives — with new enthusiasm and energy … I hope this will be the case after the LCSS summit.”