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K-State Today

May 18, 2011



Kansas Educational Leadership Institute established at K-State

By Debbie Mercer

Kansas Educational Leadership Institute is a new partnership formed by Kansas School Superintendents Association, United School Administrators, Kansas Leadership Center, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas State Department of Education and Kansas State University. The institute is designed to support the professional development of executive leadership in Kansas schools.

The grand opening celebration of the new institute was May 12, 2011 in the Leadership Studies Building on the K-State campus. A large group of superintendents and education supporters were in attendance at the opening event. Diane DeBacker, Kansas Commissioner of Education, opened the conference.

“The concept of induction and mentoring of our school leaders has long been on the agenda of the Kansas State Department of Education. We are thrilled to see the manifestation of this vision emerging from a collaborative effort of key educational organizations in our state. I am confident we will have stronger leaders and stronger schools as result of KELI,” DeBacker said.

Michael Holen, dean of the College of Education and Mike Mathes, president-elect of the Kansas School Superintendents Association, also welcomed the group. Dean Fink, a former superintendent and international education presenter and author, spoke to the group about sustaining leadership.

“The vision of the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute provides the roadmap for Kansas to lead the nation in leadership training both in developing new school leaders and in supporting experienced executive leaders,” Fink said.

The institute's priority during this initial year of operation will be a mentor/induction program for first year superintendents. This will include on-site mentoring for each new superintendent, as well as opportunities to learn from successful practitioners and experts in the field of school leadership.

The mission of the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute is to collaborate and share resources to support professional growth of educational leaders needed in Kansas schools for the 21st Century. This new initiative is truly collaboration at its best. Kansas Educational Leadership Institute partners have entered into a collaborative agreement to provide advanced leadership development and mentoring for educational leaders, to be provided in a progressive, safe, and reflective environment.

The collaborative calls for:
→ Retreats centered on deep learning
→ On-site mentoring by experienced professional mentors
→ Ongoing support and professional development
→ Expansion to Kansas educational leaders at all levels
→ High quality collaboration for best inputs and high quality assessment of outcomes

Mary Devin, associate professor of educational leadership, has been named the executive director. Devin, a former superintendent of Geary County Schools, brings a wealth of practical knowledge to the group. She indicated the long need for such an organization in Kansas.

“We know the quality of executive leadership affects the achievement of students across a school district," she said. "We believe by working together we can create a synergy that produces unlimited potential for supporting Kansas education leaders."