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Leadership Development

Education Case Study

The Challenge

The Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished New York City Principals at Teachers College, Columbia University needed a capstone learning event for its Summer Leadership Institute. They wanted a practical leadership experience that galvanized two weeks of experiential learning at the Gettysburg Battlefield and Teachers College. The program was specifically looking for an experiential session that would enhance the effectiveness of how experienced school leaders communicate with their teachers.

The Solution

Krista Dunbar, Director of the Cahn Fellows Program, collaborated with Exec-Comm to design a one day program: Performance Management Skills: Communicating to Inspire Peak Performance. By better understanding their own communication style and how to adjust to their staff members’ style, principals heightened their self-awareness and ability to deliver progressive, motivational feedback. Through skill building coached exercises and digitally recorded role plays, the school leaders also enhanced their professional presence.

The Results

Since the collaboration between Teachers College and Exec-Comm began in 2006, 160 Cahn Fellows have positively impacted more than 150,000 students throughout the New York City Public School System.

An independent study entitled “School Principals and School Performance” determined that the performance of students led by principals who participated in Cahn Fellows improved significantly. The study notes that, “becoming a Cahn Fellow has the same impact on math scores as acquiring five years of principal experience.”*

*“School Principals and School Performance”, conducted by Damon Clark of the University of Florida, Paco Martorell of the Rand Institute and Jonah Rockoff of the Columbia Business School in December of 2009


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