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Lee County School District, Fort Myers, Florida and other Education

VISION AND LEADERSHIP:

The Transformation of Community

Gale Leadership Development LLC is pleased to have been a part of the contributing to the leadership, healing, and transformation of entire communities in behalf of creating new futures for themselves and for the people in those communities. We are currently working in Fort Myers, Florida, with the superintendent of schools and various community leaders. The following are comments from participants of the work there:


“This work provided an enormous power of recovery in our community. When I arrived in 1997, many in the community were in pain, over the loss of a popular school superintendent and under the cloud of a university study that found the community to be the most segregated in the South. The Challenge of Leadership has opened the door, for many people throughout the community, to forgiveness and healing as the capacity to create a new future.”

BRUCE HARTER, PH.D.,
SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS LEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, FORT MYERS, FLORIDA


“After participating in this course I have a better self-understanding and a new appreciation for the power of listening. With that, I am a more effective leader in my work as well as in my personal life. Having an opportunity to work with Amba Gale was a very meaningful experience.”

LINDA TAYLOR, CHAIRPERSON, GOLDEN APPLE PROGRAM FORT MYERS, FLORIDA


“It helped me better understand me, and by understanding myself better, I became a more focused, compassionate person. I now try, very hard, to take the time to listen to what others are saying and do not feel I have to find the answers to every problem. I learned that educators care about their profession and they want to improve education for everyone; from that one child who is constantly told he/she cannot learn, to the brightest over achiever. Working together, we can have quality schools. The three days out of the office were not a waste of time, but rather an investment in my future and an investment for the News-Press.”

TERRY EBERLE, EDITOR, FORT MYERS NEWS-PRESS LEE COUNTY SCHOOLS, FLORIDA


“The course put me back on track and provided me with missing tools. Through powerful communication profound things can happen, whether it is enriching relationships, empowering others, providing workability, or effecting action to take place. I have been reminded that I am part of the solution and can create possibilities that did not exist before. It was an incredible experience.”

KATHY KLEIST, HEALTH EDUCATION CENTER, FORT MYERS


“My children appear to be aware that I am paying closer attention, my husband definitely has noted a change in my willingness to listen to him. My employer is pleased with my enthusiasm and willingness to share this secret with our entire staff. Relationships have improved and walls have been knocked down.”

PRINCIPAL, LEE COUNTY SCHOOLS


COMMENTS FROM OTHER EDUCATORS IN THIS COMMUNITY:

“This program could cause a lot of fences to be mended; it could cause a lot of healing to occur. Much needed.”
“This program will be of great benefit in our community. The deep understanding of self and our relation to others can bring a community together to accomplish most anything. Thanks!”
“Everyone benefits because we all create files which hinder movement forward. That in itself gives people space to create as well as freeing them.”
“This fabulous course provided me the opportunity to focus on who I am and what I represent as a person. It has inspired me to make a difference in everything I say and do; to improve relationships that need improvement; cherish my children and husband as never before, and appreciate each day for what it has to offer, recognizing my contribution is significant.”
“We all get caught up in routines and lose sight of what’s really important in life. We don’t look at people as people; we don’t listen or communicate effectively; we assume; we take things/people/health for granted.”

Gale Leadership Development LLC is deeply committed to the education and learning of children. We view our capacity to impact communities as a whole in their commitment to contribute to education, and individuals (both business people, school board members, and educators) in their ability to make a difference in education, as one of the privileges of our work. We have worked, so far, with three distinct school districts and communities: Corvallis, Oregon; Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, North Carolina; Fort Myers, Florida. The following are some comments from our clients and participants in our programs for educators:


“I’ve developed my comfort and ability to be in relationships with others from my most intimate others to the most casual. I’ve uncovered a process for unfolding my life and moving toward my personal vision and my dreams. That is now grounded in a series of commitments statements of promises and pledges … which I hold sacred at the level of my soul. It is clear to me that people see me as the CEO in this organization, differently and more positively. My leadership has been freed up in my commitment to personal development for me and for our whole school community. The level of trust has been greatly enhanced and the leadership team has been empowered to pursue their dreams. A belief in the future is emerging in the last twelve months where it did not exist a year ago.

I now know in my heart and in the most profound places in my soul that leadership can provide an opening for work to be inspirited where all who work in our organization can discover joy and fulfillment in their work.

In May of 1995, the school district conducted its first annual employee satisfaction survey. One of the demographic indicators included in that survey was participation in Gale Leadership Development LLC programs. Employees who participated in one or more of these classes were more satisfied in key areas such as trust, belonging, appreciation, their ability to influence what happens in our school district, and how well informed they feel. My observations confirm that the programs significantly altered the overall level of satisfaction among all our employees as a result of their participation. For example, the presidents of both employee unions participated in the August 1995 course. Each spoke powerfully to the entire workforce in early September at the annual employee convocation about the power of personal responsibility, and working together as a team. Those stands continued throughout the year in the leadership of their organizations.”

BRUCE HARTER, PH.D.
SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
CORVALLIS SCHOOL DISTRICT, OREGON


“I view myself as a high leverage person in this district. While I used those words in requesting to participate in this course, I have truly stepped into that statement in a way I have never experienced in this district before. I am confident in the contribution I have to make to the secondary schools related to improving student learning. I step into leadership and ask difficult questions that force us to look at the ‘unmentionables.’ What’s different is that I create a safe space for not knowing and asking for help as I approach these tough conversations.”

JULIE McCANN, MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
CORVALLIS SCHOOL DISTRICT, OREGON


“Things are different since my leadership experience in August. I remember the first day of our workshop when you made a premonition that we would get astounded by the beauty of the individuals in the room. Sometimes I think about that when I am in a room of people …. especially, difficult people.

Those people would astound me, too, if I knew them better. So I look at people differently. I have made a concerted effort to listen to people on a deeper level. The results have paid off. I receive words and notes of thanks for listening! My listening has caused me to change my mind about issues and to reach compromises. It is very rewarding to find solutions collaboratively.”

LINDA ST. PIERRE, HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
CORVALLIS SCHOOL DISTRICT


“I would like to take this opportunity to formally thank you for providing the Leadership workshop for our school system administrators. The interactions and relationships that occurred during the sessions were incredible. As a result of the work, our people are working much more effectively as a team and are more effective in their own schools. Your efforts assisted us into a different and higher arena of communications. Administrators have become much better listeners and much better leaders. They have begun to see and nourish leadership in their teachers. Our schools have set high standards for staff and students. Your work has provided the essential tools to allow us to meet those standards and get new ones that we would not have previously thought possible.”

STAN HILL, PH.D., INSTRUCTIONAL GENERALIST
WINSTON-SALEM / FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS


“I believe the change that has happened since Challenge of Leadership is not an uncommon outcome of any opportunity for good honest safe communication… increased trust. That trust is fairly evident within the pockets of people who have been through that workshop. It is true for me. I trust people in this system more. I trust the professionals I work with more. This trust is for the people, I seem to have separated them from the system a little bit. I know that the system will move over, around, and through me, but I feel the people in it will regard who I am to the best of their ability and to the extent I let them and the system lets them.”

CHUCK HOIST, COUNSELOR


“I developed a new attitude about, and set of strategies toward, responding to complaints. It’s a substantial part of what I do and I used to hate it. Concentrating on listening past the complaint for the concern for the organization and the message about what’s missing opened a much more positive approach to me.”

MAX RILEY, ASSISTANT
SUPERINTENDENT


“The Leadership Challenge influenced my personal and professional life in many ways this year. The greatest gift I took from the Challenge was a clearer focus on what I stand for, the chance to discern and define those areas that are at my core and influence my words and actions. Because I know what my stands are around, I have felt both a greater freedom and a greater responsibility to act in a manner congruent with those stands. This allowed me to selectively choose my reactions in situations and also to purposefully engage in interactions that I chose. I have a much stronger sense of purpose, and that translates into a much stronger sense of personal and professional freedom, power and responsibility.”

DENISE GORTHY, PRINCIPAL

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