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Achieving breakthrough success doesn’t come without a willingness to challenge old paradigms. Leaders who build cultures of belonging are leaders who pave the way for ingenuity, innovation, and improvement.

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We ask GLISI Aspiring Leaders to answer this question on Day 1: "Why do you believe you are a leader?" Kathy Ford, a former first grade teacher at New Hope Elementary School in Whitfield County Schools, struggled to see leadership in herself and responded with, “I hope you see something in me. I just want to learn!”

Over the course of GLISI’s partnership, Kathy discovered her own leadership strengths and addressed an evident

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need in her school by designing and piloting a student mentoring program. Her innovation not only affected the success of student mentees, but had a profound impact on the culture and mindset of other teachers and leaders.

This video captures Kathy’s learning and is representative of the other 61 aspiring leaders we served in FY19.

Kathy is now a first-year assistant principal, continuing to grow her capacity to lead and influence other educators system-wide.

"I became aware of differences in personalities and conflict resolution that may affect the dynamics of my department, classroom, and school. Now we have a more inclusive mindset on all levels. We seek data and ways of collecting data that inform our next goals."


Emanuel County Schools

Base Camp & Leadership Summit Participant

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We design to catalyze difficult⁠—but important⁠—change and we are continuously experimenting with innovations in facilitating and measuring progress toward hard change. We've identified two elements present in organizations that persistently innovate and improve: psychological safety and collective efficacy. 

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*Data includes Cohorts 52-59 (649 participants)

When psychological safety1 is present on teams, there is a shared belief that members will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. Teams with collective efficacy believe their effort together will result in positive change. Teams that share both of these beliefs are poised for breakthrough. 

In FY19, we analyzed measures of psychological safety to better understand the impact of Base Camp and Leadership Summit on team culture. Two items showed persistent improvement across teams and cohorts (see table). 

Collective efficacy is equally crucial. Our Base Camp and Leadership Summit experience places teams in a setting where they are working together, with coaching, on a problem of practice from their school. We are not merely telling them about collective efficacy. We are creating a safe environment where they are becoming better, and uncovering insights about the strength of their team as they attack challenges. Pre-post evaluations from Cohorts 55, 56, and 57 tell us that BCLS participants see how they are building collective efficacy on their teams and in their school systems.

  1. Edmondson, A. C. (2019). The fearless organization: creating psychological safety in the workplace for learning, innovation, and growth. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

"I was challenged to think about how I avoid conflicts and how that approach could be hindering my ability to lead and work as part of a team."


Base Camp & LEadership Summit Participant

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In February 2019, we launched a strategic partnership with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) to design and implement a networked improvement community (NIC) called Teams Transforming Teaching Together (4T).

4T harnesses the power of multi-district collaboration and improvement science to drive innovation and improve student outcomes in three rural Georgia districts. GLISI and SREB are also walking the talk of improvement science by engaging in a NIC of our own, designed to improve our facilitation and implementation of 4T.

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Districts were selected in June 2019 and GLISI and SREB will join forces to provide expert facilitation, on-site technical assistance, choice-driven personalized learning, and coaching of teachers and leaders through Summer 2021.




Aaryn Schmuhl, M.Ed.

Aaryn Schmuhl, M.Ed.

In FY19, we made a strategic investment in a new position, welcoming Aaryn Schmuhl as GLISI's Vice President of Program Development & Innovation.  Aaryn is leading service innovations at GLISI that are already deepening our impact on school culture.