Leadership Training

District Leadership Fellows Gather at SMU for Winter Retreat

The 2023-2024 cohort of District Leadership Fellows gathered at SMU to engage with speakers and panelists, to share their project updates, and to look ahead to the spring semester.   

Dr. Eric G. Bing, Director of the Institute for Leadership Impact, began the day by welcoming the fellows back to SMU.  Program alum Dr. Darwin Spiller, Richardson ISD, spoke about his experiences in the 2022-2023 cohort, and how those experiences continue to influence his work and leadership today.   

Dr. Darwin Spiller standing in front of screen, presenting to audience
Dr. Darwin Spiller, Richardson ISD, giving an alum update.

Dean Stephanie Knight, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, facilitated a discussion on academic achievement with panelists Dr. Toriano Green, Osceola School District #1, Dr. Veronica Perkins, Blytheville School District, Dr. Kristin Hebert, Plano ISD,  and Mr. Daniel Piña, Edgewood ISD.   Drs. Green and Perkins discussed their projects which are both centered around increasing literacy in their districts.  Dr. Herbert and Mr. Piña spoke about the ways they support academic achievement in their roles as Director of Secondary Academics and Director of Transportation respectively.  

Panel of 5 people sitting in chairs
Panel discussion on academic achievement featuring, from left to right, Dean Stephanie Knight, Dr. Toriano Green, Mr. Daniel Piña, Dr. Kristin Hebert and Dr. Veronica Perkins.

Dr. Tracie Robinson, Westwood ISD, provided an update on her project to the group.  The fellows moved smaller groups to present their project updates, then came back together to discuss the common themes that emerged. 

Dr. Angie Brooks speaking to the group at District Leaders Winter Retreat
Dr. Angie Brooks, Coppell ISD, contributing to the discussion following the project updates.

SMU faculty and staff from the Department of Teaching and Learning Department of Psychology and The Budd Center joined the cohort as they reflected on their leadership experience to date.  Dr. Matt Birdwell, Levelland ISD, provided the cohort keynote address.  

Dr. Matt Birdwell presenting to audience
Dr. Matt Birdwell, Levelland ISD, presenting to the cohort.

The cohort will continue to meet online throughout the spring semester as they support each other in implementing their projects.  

 To learn more about Institute for Leadership Impact programs, visit our website, email us at, and engage with us on Twitter.  

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