Public Education Fellows Program
The American Leadership Forum Public Education Community Program is designed to join and strengthen leaders in the Houston education community. Public education is critically important to the future of our community, and each day we read about challenges that perhaps could be approached more effectively if leaders in the various segments of the education community really knew and trusted each other.
This program offers benefits to the community, but also to the organizations sponsoring participants (leadership development and networking across the education community), and to the participants themselves (personal growth, professional growth, effective skilled service to the community, and long lasting bonds with relationships of mutual trust among diverse leaders). The program presents approximately 25 participants with a broad perspective of the environment in which public education operates, and enables them to develop relationships that can facilitate collaboration.
"ALF is an affirmation of the question of whether leaders are born or can be made.
The lesson from ALF is to galvanize groups of individuals to push for societal change."
Edna Forte (Ed Class 2)
Federal and State Program Consultant, Region 4 Educational Service Center.
Participants are drawn from a broad definition of "education community", including representatives from among the following organizations: schools including multiple school districts, charter schools, early education and college; business and government representatives; foundations; nonprofit organizations supporting schools; and other community partners. The individuals represent all functions, including board members.
The twenty-day program includes a five-day wilderness experience in the mountains, during which extremely powerful bonds are forged. In the local area, monthly sessions are held on such topics as dialogue, group emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry, consensus building, and ethics.
Each class of Fellows will host a community dialogue with a format and topic of the group's choosing. In addition to creating impact in the community, the community dialogues provide a tremendous learning experience about the nature of community leadership, as well as the challenges and rewards of collaboration.
Deep connections are made across all kinds of lines, inspiring leaders to a lifetime of active public engagement.
"ALF has helped me build the courage to change what I can Change.
As I get older, I get more courageous. ALF has helped build that courage."
Viola Garcia (Ed Class 2)
Professor, University of Houston-Downtown
Characterized by its focus on the human capacity for collective intelligence, the ALF program begins a process of uncovering the principles of a different kind of leadership. When people who represent high achievement in different spheres of influence come together to learn and think, their creative and problem-solving power as a group can lead to highly effective coordinated action.
Program graduates, Senior Fellows, are empowered to serve as catalysts in their communities, bringing stakeholders from other sectors together to collaboratively address the most urgent public concerns. In ALF Founder Joseph Jaworski's words, Senior Fellows are thus able to "break legislative and bureaucratic gridlock and get things done."