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Summit ESC Builds Leadership Capacity through “Lifting Leaders”

As Ohio continues to experience shortages in applicants for administrative vacancies, the leadership team at the Summit ESC has determined the best way to find leaders is to create them. The “Lifting Leaders” project was created to identify potential leaders and to provide development opportunities in the Summit County area. The cohorts foster leadership and create a talent pool of ready candidates available to Summit area school districts as vacancies emerge. Superintendent Joseph Iacano described the importance of Lifting Leaders, stating, “By advertising, networking, and making Lifting Leaders cohorts available to districts, we have been able to identify and nurture teachers and mid-level administrators who are looking for support and opportunities to grow. Membership has mainly grown through word-of-mouth because of the quality of presentations and dialogue that takes place in our sessions. We have even helped participants move into new positions.”

The “Lifting Leaders” series is comprised of cohorts of individuals who seek to build skills, network with peers and/ or grow a career in administration. There are eleven cohorts, including: 

  • Aspiring Treasurers
  • Superintendents
  • Principals
  • Transportation
  • Food Service
  • School Resource Officers
  • First Year Administrators
  • Book Look
  • Central Office Administrators
  • Treasurer Office Staff

The groups come together monthly to participate in topic-oriented panel discussions, simulations, school visitations, problem solving, mock interviews and resume critique. Presenters for the sessions are the practicing Superintendents and leaders from Summit-area school districts.

“By creating opportunities for aspiring administrators to engage with current leaders in the field, the Lifting Leaders program is fostering practical, hands-on growth opportunities focused on meeting challenges and opportunities happening in area school districts today,” said Hudson City Schools’ Superintendent, Phil Herman.

Lisa Tripney, Assistant Superintendent, Portage Lakes Career Center, states,

“I look forward to my thinking and discussion group and find it both personally and professionally energizing. In our busy lives, it is a rare gift to be able to sit down with colleagues to share ideas, test theories, and chew on some pretty interesting and challenging material. It has become my regular think-tank session!”

The regional Women’s Leadership Network encourages traditionally under-represented populations to pursue leadership opportunities. The network is one of five state-wide groups that evolved through the BASA women’s leadership committee discussion. Lori Sandel, network participant and secondary administrator for the Waterloo Local Schools states,

“Being a part of the Women’s Leadership Network has really given me the opportunity to communicate with women from across the county and beyond to identify ways that we can support each other, grow the number of female leaders in Ohio and have our voices heard in a traditionally male-dominated profession. This group allows women a safe space to talk about the issues that we face as female leaders and it has been wonderful to be a part of it!”

The ultimate success of Lifting Leaders has been validated through filled vacancies in area administrative positions. This is a true testament to the success of this vision and the commitment of the participants and presenters in each cohort.

Photo of Lifting Leaders Team
The ESC “Lifting Leaders” team presented at the Ohio Educational Service Center Association state conference on September 17, 2019. Pictured are Curriculum Director Matt Young, Superintendent Joe Iacono, Treasurer Laurel Young and Leadership Consultant, Dr. Christina Dinklocker

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