Leadership Coaching Incorporates Mursion Simulation Environment

District Leadership Fellows practiced stressful leadership situations and active listening techniques using the Mursion simulation environment in the Simmons School of Education & Human Development at SMU.

Superintendent Dr. David Belding engages in the Mursion simulation environment while Dr. Eric Bing provides coaching.
Superintendent Dr. David Belding engages in the Mursion simulation environment while Dr. Eric Bing provides coaching.

Active listening was a key skill practiced at this month’s District Leadership Fellows meeting.  Using the Mursion simulation environment, superintendents would practice stressful leadership situations, pause the simulation to receive feedback, then rerun the simulation incorporating the feedback.  By watching others practice, superintendents could observe active listening techniques such as open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening and summarizing.

District Leadership Fellows, Mursion simulation environment
District Leadership Fellows provide feedback to Dr. Chris Moran after his interaction in the Mursion simulation environment.

Mursion is a mixed-reality teaching simulation environment.  It is utilized at SMU to support teacher practice, offering pre-service and in-service teachers the opportunity to learn new skills and to craft their practice without placing “real” students at risk during the learning process.  In addition, the simulator has been used to teach motivational interviewing techniques to SMU undergraduates and graduate students in health and counseling classes.

Create Impact in Your Organization
The Institute for Leadership Impact serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes.  We offer an array of experiential, individual and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

Our Model

Leaders in healthcare and education are doing critically important work, and changing contexts demand new approaches to serving communities.

Leading organizations through change is difficult and raises difficult questions:

  • Where are we going as an organization?
  • How will we know if we are making sufficient progress?
  • How do we sustain motivation once challenges inevitably emerge?

The Institute for Leadership Impact utilizes evidence-based methods and frameworks pulled from research in behavioral and management sciences to help leaders maximize their impact.

Impact Model developed by the Institute for Leadership Impact

Impact is measurable and meaningful change. The Institute helps leaders develop impactful solutions in the communities and institutions they serve.

An evidence-based strategy is essential for success. The Institute helps leaders develop customized solutions for their organizations that leverage unique strengths and circumstances.

Execution turns great ideas into reality. To help leaders successfully implement their strategies, the Institute uses personalized strengths assessments and behavioral techniques derived from the latest cognitive research.

Without motivation, even the strongest leaders can struggle to succeed. The Institute puts a special focus on helping leaders connect their work to a deeper sense of personal meaning, helping them discover new ways to motivate and engage themselves, their teams, and their communities.

District Leadership Fellows discussing impact goals for their districts.
District Leadership Fellows discussing impact goals for their districts.

 

Download our 2018-2019 Impact Report to learn more about the education and health leadership training programs where we utilize the Impact Model.

Create Impact in Your Organization
The Institute for Leadership Impact serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes.  We offer an array of experiential, individual and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

Active Listening Techniques Incorporated into District Leadership Fellows Training

The District Leadership Fellows met at SMU for their second session on October 23rd.  Superintendents built upon the framework they learned at the Kick Off, updated their Impact Models and added Active Listening to their skill set.

District Leadership Fellows October meeting
District Leadership Fellows shared insights from the past month.

 

The 2019-2020 District Leadership Fellows cohort met at Southern Methodist University for Session 2 on October 23, 2019.  The superintendents reflected on their learning since the first session, how they had been applying leadership techniques to their daily practices, and how they had been passing them along to leaders within their districts. Sessions were led by Dr. Eric G. Bing, from the Simmons School of Education and Human Development, and Dr. Josie Hernandez-Gutierrez, CEO of Proactive Leaders.

Superintendents took time to revisit strategy for their change projects and dig into effective execution frameworks, knowing that reflection, adjusting strategy as data is collected, and adapting as roadblocks are encountered are essential.

District Leadership Fellows October meeting
District Leadership Fellows hard at work updating their Impact Models with guidance from Institute for Leadership Impact Director Dr. Eric Bing.

Dr. Bing introduced active listening using OARS and Motivational Interviewing.  OARS is built upon Open-Ended Questions, Affirmation, Reflective Listening, and Summary.  Motivational Interviewing is built upon collaboration, evocation, autonomy and compassion.  Superintendents were able to see these techniques in action from the perspective of a counselor, a client, and an observer.

To learn more about the District Leadership Fellows, watch a video about the program or visit the education page on the Institute’s website.

Create Impact in Your Organization
The Institute for Leadership Impact serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes.  We offer an array of experiential, individual and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

Training Emerging Public Health Leaders in the Classroom and Community

The Institute for Leadership Impact has trained over 150 SMU students in creating global and public health impact since 2015.

SMU students creating impact in global and public health
SMU students presenting at the Case Competition, part of the Creating Impact in Global & Public Health class.

 

Dr. Eric G. Bing’s Creating Impact in Global & Public Health course gives SMU students the tools to analyze and develop solutions to complex global health challenges and adapt those solutions to new contexts.

This interdisciplinary course blends social, biological and management sciences with humanities and the arts to help students create sustainable change in communities.  Through a series of real-world case studies, guest speakers, discussions and debates students begin to understand the many reasons why some global and public health initiatives succeed in improving health while others fail.

The course culminates in a Case Competition where teams of students present their solutions to a public health issue.  The proposals are evaluated on their feasibility, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Learn more about student involvement in our Global Health programs by visiting the Center for Global Health Impact.  For more information on the next Creating Impact in Global & Public Health class, download the course flyer.

Create Impact in Your Organization
The Institute for Leadership Impact serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes.  We offer an array of experiential, individual and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

New Cohort of Superintendents Convenes at SMU

District Leadership Fellows 2019-2020

As SMU students settled in for their first round of exams, a new cohort of the Institute for Leadership Impact’s flagship program kicked off at the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. With the construction of SMU’s new Ford Hall for Research & Innovation as a backdrop, thirteen District Leadership Fellows from all over the northeast Texas region reflected on the most effective ways to approach their unique leadership roles.

Founded in 2016, the District Leadership Fellows program brings superintendents of rural Texas school districts together to build their leadership skills and collaborate on district improvements. With five Texas education regions represented, the 2019-2020 cohort represents an 150% increase in geographic reach from last year’s two regions.

The 2019-2020 Fellows include Mr. Shannon Baker (Mildred ISD), Mr. Andy Ball (Clifton ISD), Dr. David Belding (Aubrey ISD), Dr. Michelle Cline (Throckmorton ISD), Dr. Jon Hill (Dodd City ISD), Mr. Lee Joffre (Mabank ISD), Dr. Darin Jolly (North Hopkins ISD), Dr. John Kuhn (Mineral Wells ISD), Ms. Kelly Moore (Union Grove ISD), Dr. Chris Moran (Whitehouse ISD), Dr. Brian Nichols (New Summerfield ISD), Dr. Roosevelt Nivens (Community ISD), Dr. Lamont Smith (Elkhart ISD), Dr. Paul Uttley (Paradise ISD), and Mr. Kermit Ward (Clarksville ISD).

Dr. Jolly and Dr. Moran are entering their third year as Fellows; all others are new to the program.

Highlights from the Program Kick-Off

Superintendents work with Dr. Eric G. Bing during a leadership strengths session in Harold Clark Simmons Hall.

At the fellow’s first meeting, superintendents dug into case studies and focused on different domains of leadership strengths and creating impact. On the final day of the kick-off, superintendents worked together to develop change strategies for their own specific district projects ranging from improving school safety policies to preparing for district growth.

To learn more about the overall program, watch a video about the District Leadership Fellows program or visit the Institute’s education page.

 

Create Impact in Your Organization
The Institute for Leadership Impact serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes.  We offer an array of experiential, individual and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

Impact Report Highlights Leadership Training in 2018-2019

The 2018-2019 Impact Report from the Institute for Leadership Impact highlights leadership training in education and health including the District Leadership Fellows, Rural Superintendent Leadership Symposium, Virtual Reality surgical mentoring and research, and Creating Impact in Global & Public Health class.

Institute for Leadership Impact 2018-2019 Report

During the 2018-2019 academic year, the Institute reached new heights by training over one hundred leaders, hosting several leadership workshops, conducting innovative research, and debuting a host of new programs to create impact in the region, nation, and world. The leaders who participated in Institute programs are diverse: students and seasoned professionals, leaders in health and education, and more. The programs are presented in various settings, on and off the SMU campus, from rural communities in Texas to urban settings in Africa. Our training programs – and the leaders who participate in them – will have ripple effects that last far into the future.

Education was a major focus of leadership training and included convening the second cohort of District Leadership Fellows.  This program provides rural school district leaders with the tools and peer support they need to respond to their unique challenges more effectively. Participants work together to create meaningful change in their districts.

In May 2019, the Institute hosted the first annual Rural Superintendent Leadership Symposium on the SMU campus. The symposium focused on the challenges faced by superintendents of rural school districts and the strategic steps that the District Leadership Fellows are taking to address them. In attendance were school leaders from across the North Texas region, Simmons education policy students, and other community members.

Health was another key area for leadership training as mentoring and research continued on the Virtual Reality Surgery Simulator.  This project aims to reduce the time and cost required to train surgeons in lower-income countries by using virtual reality surgical simulation training in conjunction with remote real-time supervision of surgical trainees.  The project, which uses a simulated operating room environment, runs on affordable off-the-shelf gaming equipment and is designed to help surgical trainees develop their knowledge of complicated surgical procedures.

SMU students enrolled in Dr. Bing’s Creating Impact in Global & Public Health course had the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and work in teams to help community organizations develop strategies to address complex public health challenges. In addition to learning best practices for strategy and effective implementation, students received team coaching from leaders across the health system.

A full version of the 2018-2019 Institute for Leadership Impact Report is available for download here.

Create Impact in Your Organization
The Institute for Leadership Impact serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes.  We offer an array of experiential, individual and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at leadershipimpact@smu.edu, and engage with us on Twitter.

 

Symposium Highlights: Pathways for College & Career Readiness

“We have been dedicated to career and college access work at SMU since 1966. We actually have some of the oldest running college access programs in the country, so we’re really part of a legacy.” – Dr. David Deggs   

Rural school districts often face resource constraints that limit the ability to provide a robust number of pathways for college and career readiness. These challenges inspired the second panel at the first annual SMU Rural Superintendent Leadership Symposium, which focused on improving college and career readiness among graduates of rural high schools. Dr. David Deggs, Executive Director of College Access Programs at SMU, moderated the panel of two rural East Texas superintendents.   

Dr. David Deggs (SMU), Todd Schneider (Bullard ISD) and Jim Moore (Wells ISD) at the  Rural Superintendent Leadership Symposium.

Todd Schneider (Bullard ISD) reflected on the increasing relevance of student pathways and CCMR programs as the expectations of colleges and employers continue to evolve. Schneider doubted that a one-size-fits-all approach would be best for all students, so he decided to take advantage of the smaller student body in his district to craft a more individualized approach. “To go from a graduating class of two hundred kids to a freshman class of seven thousand, you get lost quickly,” he remarked, “so there’s a lot of things that we want to try to put in place to make sure that they’re equipped to make that next step.” According to Schneider, these things include meeting with individual students, analyzing data about existing programs at BISD and considering modifications, and funding new initiatives to expand student pathways where possible.  

Jim Moore (Wells ISD) took a different approach to a similar goal. Like Schneider, he saw the unique difficulties that rural students face in transitioning out of high school, so he proposed developing a dual credit/CTE program in order to ease students’ transition to their career or higher education program of choice. Given the constraints of working in a rural context, Moore placed a heavy focus on planning and logistics, aiming to increase student opportunities by piloting three new CTE programs and raising community support. “We’re moving in the right direction as far as addressing some of our barriers, but more importantly, offering our kids a quality education to be part of the 21st-century workforce,” he said.

Symposium Highlights on Improving Instruction in Rural Schools

“Across the nation, we have increasingly ambitious goals for student learning, which equates to increasingly ambitious goals for instruction.” – Dr. Annie Wilhelm 

Among the most pressing issues in rural education are ensuring that instructional quality is high and that it remains consistent with state standards. At the first annual SMU Rural Superintendent Leadership Symposium, four superintendents from rural East Texas school districts joined SMU Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education Dr. Annie Wilhelm to discuss strategies for meeting these goals.

New Summerfield ISD superintendent Dr. Brian Nichols discusses his district’s focus on self-evaluation. 

Dr. Brian Nichols (New Summerfield ISD) drew attention to the persistent shortage of teacher candidates in rural areas and the strategies rural districts could employ to develop high-quality instruction. “It’s hard for us to find qualified teachers at times, specifically in the STEM areas,” he noted. “So, my feeling is that we need to develop the capacity within our own staff.” Dr. Nichols went on to outline his district’s practices that promote high-quality instruction with a special emphasis on reflection and growth as part of the district’s institutional culture. The plan asks teachers to self-evaluate by recording their lessons and reviewing the footage of themselves, in concert with peer-to-peer collaboration and observation among teachers to help identify and share the best instructional practices. The goal of these initiatives is to foster a team dialogue around instruction and stimulate self-initiated instructional development. According to Dr. Nichols, “It’s really kind of a rogue mindset of getting better every day.”

Stan Surratt (Lindale ISD) and Don Dunn (Van ISD) discuss teacher recruitment and training initiatives in their neighboring districts.

Stan Surratt (Lindale ISD) addressed the teacher shortage through his district initiative, choosing to approach the issue from the angle of recruitment, training, and retention of new instructors. He and his leadership team have focused on creating a more robust training system for administrators, which would, in turn, allow the construction of better training and support systems for teachers in his district. Through the implementation of this plan over several years, Surratt hopes to boost the quality and quantity of candidates for LISD teaching positions.  

Pivoting from Surratt’s plan, Don Dunn (Van ISD) jokingly remarked, “It’s so ironic that I’m sitting here talking about a professional development model and he’s talking about a recruitment model. So, basically what’s happened is we develop these teachers and he comes over and steals them!” Dunn’s Bold School Badging Program is designed to provide professional development for teachers implementing technology in the classroom, and it has also provided leadership opportunities for students. The model features professional development developed with input from the student-led iTeam and advertised with student-created theming and graphics. The program engages students and faculty in a district-wide team exercise that allows for mutual growth and dynamic learning. “Instead of this being a top-down initiative,” Dunn reasoned, “let’s make it a down-to-up initiative.” 

Wade Stanford (Westwood ISD) explains his district’s commitment to coaching all teachers.

Wade Stanford (Westwood ISD) also presented a collaborative plan, with the goal of aligning instruction in his district with Texas state standards. Stanford observed that his teachers have an “unbelievable desire to be excellent and improve their craft on a daily basis,” which led him to realize that collaboration was the best way to help them grow. The approach he developed for his district focuses on coaching, leadership walks, and peer-to-peer learning walks, all strategies that had been successful in Stanford’s district before. In the short term, Stanford hopes to increase awareness of state instructional standards among instructors and build an increased culture of collaboration in his district.  

Strategies for Rural School and Community Partnerships from SMU Symposium

“The community and its schools are not separate” – Regina Nippert

“This is a subject that has not only been central to my professional career, it’s a subject about which I have deeply held core beliefs: that the community and its schools are not separate,” said Regina Nippert as she kicked off the opening panel of the first annual Rural Superintendent Leadership Symposium, hosted on the SMU campus by the Institute for Leadership Impact. Ms. Nippert, who serves as Executive Director of the Budd Center at SMU, moderated the panel featuring four superintendents from two East Texas counties, who presented several approaches to increase community engagement in rural school districts.

Whitehouse ISD superintendent Chris Moran explains his initiative to ensure that mental health services are accessible to all students in his district.

Dr. Chris Moran, superintendent of Whitehouse ISD, spoke first. He noted that sustaining a productive relationship between a community and its school district requires the district to adapt as the needs of the community. Dr. Moran found that “the more we discussed our core beliefs as a community, the more input we received from members of our community – parents, faith leaders, business leaders – the more we recognized that the mental health and well-being of our students was at the very center of what we wanted to pursue.” This realization led him to lead the creation of a district-wide initiative focused on scaling up mental health counseling services for all students who would benefit from them, with the goal of creating a safer and more caring campus environment for all community members. Along this journey, Dr. Moran built a partnership with the neighboring University of Texas at Tyler, developing a plan to place mental health counseling interns from UT Tyler at each WISD campus and hiring a mental health counselor to oversee the interns.

North Hopkins ISD superintendent Darin Jolly outlines the vital role of schools in rural communities.

Concurring with Dr. Moran’s emphasis on student success, Dr. Darin Jolly (North Hopkins ISD) remarked on the critical role that schools can play in rural communities. To stimulate more involvement in his own district, Dr. Jolly leveraged the philosophy of “If we build it, they will come” to establish a Vision Committee to encourage stakeholder involvement, begin hosting staff collaboration sessions, form a Student Advisory Committee, and launch an “Adopt a School” program with local churches. In the short term, Dr. Jolly plans to use these tools to identify and pursue new opportunities for community engagement.

Sulphur Bluff ISD superintendent Dustin Carr explains the value of student leadership to his community.

To ensure that community engagement opportunities are available to students as well as community members outside the school system, Dustin Carr (Sulphur Bluff ISD) focused on creating leadership opportunities for more students. He identified the Beta Club as an appropriate way to make these opportunities available, and set a goal of introducing the club at Sulphur Bluff Junior High. Ultimately, he hopes to build a robust Beta presence on campus and begin sending students to Beta conventions, as well as creating new opportunities for service projects to continue improving community engagement and student success.

Chapel Hill ISD Superintendent Marc Levesque advocates for community-based accountability.

Marc Levesque, superintendent of Chapel Hill ISD, concluded the presentations by stressing the importance of community-based accountability with his “All About the A’s” model. Through the creation of internal assessment and accountability systems – as well as innovation in curriculum and instruction – Mr. Levesque plans to elevate CHISD to excellence in academics, arts, agriculture, athletics, advocacy, and accountability, in ways that address the unique needs and interests of the community. He remarked that the success of rural schools should be a point of pride and that he is thankful to partner with SMU and other districts to continue enhancing the student experience.

Continuing the Conversation on Rural Schools

 

At the Rural Superintendent Leadership Symposium, we invited you to be a part of the conversation on creating meaningful change in rural districts.  We hope you left with a renewed spirit of commitment to and enthusiasm for the millions of Texas students served by rural schools.

District leaders, like those in the SMU District Leadership Fellows program, are finding innovative ways to set rural students up for a bright future. We hope their insights inspire you to make meaningful and measurable change in your own context.

Follow the SMU Institute for Leadership Impact on Twitter and LinkedIn as we share more about their work over the summer.

Stay Connected

Apply for the 2019-2020 Cohort 

Apply and join the diverse cohort of peer superintendents from rural Texas school districts.

The District Leadership Fellows program application deadline has been extended to June 15, 2019.

Apply for the 2019-2020 Cohort

Create Impact in Your Organization

The Leadership Institute serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes.

We offer an array of experiential, individual and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.

Contact Us about How We Can Support Your Organization