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K-State Today

September 8, 2015

Kansas commissioner of education to speak at workshop for administrators

Submitted by Patrice Scott

Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson will be on campus Thursday to address education leaders from approximately 65 school districts at a workshop hosted by the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute, or KELI, and the Kansas State Board of Education.

The daylong workshop, "How to Give Feedback that Moves People to Action Rather than Pushback," features nationally certified coach Marceta Reilly. The institute matches superintendents and building leaders with experienced education professionals who provide on-site, individualized mentorship.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, is looking forward to the workshop.

"We are delighted Commissioner Watson will be joining us and sharing his vision for the Kansas Department of Education," she said. "His presence demonstrates his firm commitment to education and his support for school leaders across Kansas."

Dan Yunk, institute executive director and former superintendent of Manhattan-Ogden USD 383, explained the education system has always been complex. However, with today's added pressures of uncertain budgets, changes in assessment and accreditation models, a seemingly ever-growing set of rules and regulations, and numerous societal changes, challenges for leaders are reaching new levels.

"What we provide is an experienced mentor who can serve as a confidant with a nonjudgmental ear," Yunk said. "We believe in the coaching model versus giving advice because with coaching, you learn how to arrive at good decisions. It's that one-to-one, onsite help that makes KELI a unique and very attractive model."

Nearly 75 superintendents have completed the program since KELI was formed in 2011, and a majority of the state's newest superintendents are enrolled this year. The program initially focused on first-year superintendents but has grown to include second-year superintendents, principals, assistant principals and most recently, assistant superintendents and special education directors. KELI partners include Kansas State University, Kansas State Department of Education, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas School Superintendents Association, and United School Administrators of Kansas.