Thursday, July 28, 2016

SBISD Principal Picked for Harvard Institute

Spring Branch Middle School Principal Bryan Williams was one of 95 principals from Texas, and the only principal in Spring Branch ISD, chosen by Austin-based Raise Your Hand Texas for a recent summer leadership program sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Williams, principal at Spring Branch Middle for the past five years, attended the National Institute for Urban School Leaders at the renowned Cambridge, Mass., graduate school from June 19-25.

The nonprofit education advocacy group Raise Your Hand Texas picked Principal Williams after a rigorous, months long interview process. A written essay, a timed critical thinking exercise, and group and individual interviews were required of all applicants.

For those selected for the summer program, Raise Your Hand Texas covers all key expenses, estimated at about $7,500, including program tuition fees, travel, hotel and discretionary items.

Bryan Williams (far right) attended the National Institute for Urban School Leaders at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Principal Williams summed up his interest this way: “Leadership involves learning and leading. I am hungry for the opportunity to grow professionally as an educator leader, learn best practices from renowned Harvard professors, and gain insight from high-performing leaders around the country on how I can take Spring Branch Middle from a ‘good’ to ‘great’ school.”

After engaging in training and workshops led by national and international experts in the fields of education and leadership, the Spring Branch Middle principal had a sky-high opinion of his June session at the institute, which he called “incredible.”

Six separate summer institutes are coordinated by The Principals’ Center based at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“I had a unique opportunity to learn from some of the best and brightest educators in practice from Harvard and across the nation. The institute really challenged and equipped me to foster a positive school culture which advocates for a high quality and equitable education for every student,” Principal Williams said.

“I have developed a new network of colleagues and friends who are committed to sharing ideas and resources, and encouraging one another in our leadership journeys,” he also said.

Prior to his appointment at Spring Branch Middle in 2011, Principal Williams was an assistant principal at Spring Oaks Middle. He taught in Aldine ISD and Kansas City, Mo., schools, and also worked as a family support specialist and coordinator.

He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Houston, and received his master’s degree in educational administration and an educational specialist degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He first earned a bachelor’s degree from Park University in Parkville, Mo.

Building strong campus leaders is one of the fastest and most effective ways to improve education for all students in Texas public schools, said Andre Morgan, Ed.D., program director for Austin-based Raise Your Hand Texas.

“With this year’s cohort, Raise Your Hand will have now sponsored more than 10 percent of all Texas principals to benefit from a rigorous weeklong program at the Harvard Leadership Institutes,” he said.

Since the program beginning, the nonprofit estimates that it has invested more than $6 million into summer training institutes for Texas educators like Williams.


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