08/21/2017 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Teaching Teachers to Teach Leadership

Group of teachers engaged in professional development while seated at desks in a classroom

If you are a school or a candidate, you probably know know a bit of basic information about what we do: that we match teachers and administrators with jobs at K-12 private, independent schools around the world. You might also know that we have extensive retained search services for leadership roles and other high-level positions at educational organizations. And perhaps you are also aware that we offer strategic consulting and executive coaching services for schools and institutions across the country. What you might not know about is our connection to an organization dedicated to the art of teaching leadership.

In 1995, Gardner Lynch Gordon Carney, the son of our Chairman James H. Carney, II,  died in a kayaking accident in his senior year at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Our office is closed on August 21 each year, Gardner’s birthday, in his memory.

His family, Jim, Laurie and Winston Carney, established a restricted endowment at the Fountain Valley School in Colorado, in his memory. Fountain Valley School (FVS) was chosen because because Gardner had been a graduate of the school and found great success there, and FVS—as a fully mature and thriving institution—provided an ideal forum for the development of a program focused on leadership and teaching.

Initially, the endowment supported the professional development of the school’s faculty in leadership training. Quickly, however, the idea was born to build a program with a much larger scope. A research project was initiated to reframe the project, a strategic framework was set, and distinguished educators from across the nation were asked to join the dialogue.

In 2005, these efforts coalesced into the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute (gcLi), which is dedicated to researching, developing and disseminating a pedagogy of leadership—research based methods, drawing from the fields of brain science, psychology, leadership theory, and teaching and learning, by which teachers can help young people learn to lead.

The gcLi is founded on the premise that young people need to develop a thoughtful awareness — indeed a reverence for — leadership qualities in themselves and others. It’s mission is “Empowering Teachers to Teach Leadership to Students.” The Institute believes that teachers are the best conduits for conveying this reverence to young people. But they need training and support to do it well.

The gcLi has two flagship programs to teach teachers how to develop leadership in their students: the Leadership Lab, held every June in Colorado, and the Symposium, organized every three years with a key, Strategic Partner. For this cycle in 2017, the Symposium is partnering with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Featuring an opening keynote by Dr. Annie McKee—best-selling author, adviser to global leaders, and professor at Penn—and Dr. Catherine Steiner, who is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist, instructor at Harvard Medical School, author of the bestseller Big Disconnect, a regular speaker and consultant to independent schools, and Institute Scholar for the gcLi. Registration is full for this event.

The Leadership Lab (LL), taking place for six days every June on the campus of FVS, brings together teachers and administrators from across the country to learn how to develop the leadership competencies of their students. They are exposed to the latest research about brain science, social and emotional intelligence, and group dynamics; and they participate in extensive exercises designed to develop their awareness, personal reflection, and effective action in order to learn a pedagogy of leadership. To date, 650 educators from 39 different states and five foreign countries have attended. They are teachers, coaches, deans of students, division heads, and heads of school. Registration for LL’18 opens September 5.

As a firm that works in the education sector, we support the mission of the gcLi in providing teachers with the tools necessary to build our next generation of leaders. Recent studies such as this one published by the Harvard Business Review, indicate the correlation between learning to be a leader and academic performance. Effective leadership education makes a difference not only in improving learning, but in refining critical thinking and interpersonal skills, which all contribute to a student’s success in college and beyond.

When students discover their own leadership potential and take action, the power of a transformational education is actualized, and at CS&A we’re all about matching effective, transformative teachers and administrators with positions at fine private, independent, college-preparatory schools all over the world.

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