Antioch High academic coach among conference participants

Four organizations came together in Miami, Florida to provide a powerful new opportunity for educators from across the United States.

The National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC), University of Florida Lastinger Center, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), and School Reform Initiative (SRI) delivered the first session of a year-long fellowship called the Career Academy Leaders’ Collaborative.

Thirty participants were chosen to develop adaptive leadership capacity, build knowledge, and enhance skills to create and enact transformative ideas that empower their community. MNPS’s Jill Pittman, principal of Overton High School, was selected for this national collaborative, along with Nekesha Burnette, academy coach at Antioch High school.

“Being part of the NCAC Collaborative provides an opportunity to shine a light on the meaningful work of Academies not only in MNPS, but across the country,” Pittman said. “I look forward to engaging with this cohort of leaders in action research that can improve our collective practices. Ultimately, I hope to see greater access to high quality programs that prepare our students for college, career, and life.”

“Attending the Career Academy Leaders Collaborative was a great opportunity, to be on the frontline of improving equity and access within the academy model,” said Burnette. “The Career Academy Leaders Collaborative builds a safe community that connects and supports all stakeholders. I appreciate Alignment Nashville in their sponsorship of this opportunity.”

The fellowship, built on in-person and virtual collaborative experiences, uses the National Standards of Practice for Career Academies (NSOP) as a framework. Academy Leader Fellows work as a cohort and build their expertise in design thinking, consensus building, strategic planning, change management, coaching, and facilitation.

“We are happy to welcome Career Academy Leaders to our Certified Communities of Practice Facilitator program,” said Phil Poekert, assistant director of the Lastinger Center. “This program assists Leaders in creating safe spaces in which to think about and design better teaching practices, to look closely at educator and student work, and to identify schoolwide issues that affect student achievement. It is expected that a new group of 30 Fellows will be selected each year, adding to the knowledge network for career academies.”