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Kansas Educational Leadership Institute

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First Year Activities

  • December, 2010
    • Representatives from major state organizations/agencies open discussion on the need for a state wide system of support for the growth and development of educational leadership needed in Kansas the 21st Century
  • March 30, 2011
    • Planners approve proposal for establishing the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute (KELI) to be housed in the College of Education at Kansas State University
  • May, 2011
    • Invited guests attend the Grand Opening Celebration of KELI in the Leadership Studies Building at Kansas State University. Commissioner of Education Diane DeBacker, KSSA President Mike Mathes and College of Education Dean Mike Holen endorse KELI. International educational development consultant Dr. Dean Fink presents the keynote address on the importance of collaboration.
  • June, 2011
    • KELI presents at the KSSA Summer 2011 Annual Superintendents’ Conference
    • KELI Steering Committee holds its first face to face meeting
    • Nine KELI Mentors are selected
    • KELI Five Year Plan is submitted to KSDE
  • July, 2011
    • KELI mentors begin meeting regularly with assigned mentees of new Kansas superintendents
    • KELI mentors hold first work session to define mentoring/induction program activities
    • KELI is recognized by KSDE as a regional professional learning center
    • KSDE announces reimbursement plan for KELI mentoring/induction participants
  • September, 2011
    • Mentors finalize concepts of program requirements and choose formal mentor training program options
  • October, 2011
    • KELI presents a breakout session at the KSDE Extreme Makeover Conference
    • KELI presents breakout sessions at all six Education Summit regional meetings
    • KELI mentors complete two day training with certified coaching trainers from Coaching for Results, Inc.
  • November, 2011
    • KELI Mentors attend cohort meetings at one of two locations
    • KELI Advisory Council Meets for the first time

Executive Director Mary Devin has compiled a look at KELI after its first full year in operation: KELI First Year (PDF)

Photos of KELI Grand Opening featureing Michael Holen, Mary Devin, Dean Fink, Mike Mathes, and Diane DeBacker

KELI Grand Opening Celebration
Clockwise from top left: Dr. Michael Holen, Dean of Education, Kansas State University; Dr. Mary Devin, KELI Executive Director; keynote speaker Dr. Dean Fink, international educator and author; Mike Mathes, Kansas School Superintendents Association; and Dr. Diane DeBacker, Kansas Commissioner of Education.


Articles about KELI

2011 College of Education Connections magazine article (PDF)
2013 College of Education Connections magazine article (PDF)


Original Principal Mentoring/Induction Task Force Documents

Planning Committee Charge (PDF)
Planning Committee Tasks and Timeline (PDF)
→ Talking Points Summary (PDF)


Let's Talk Seminar Series (2012)

The Let’s Talk Seminar Series (2012) brought districts together to share progress on initiatives underway in their districts.

  • Legal Advisors and School Leaders
    February 9, 2012
    • Education leaders know the importance of respecting legal frameworks embedded in routine operations. KELI asked practicing superintendents what topics they wanted to see addressed in a conversation with experts on school law. Their list included personnel issues such as RIF, teacher non-renewal, due process and payment to certified staff without current credentials; executive session procedures, open records act; liability for student group trips not funded by the district; parent rights; liability for use of buildings by outside groups; and reporting crimes to law enforcement. In this session, Cheryl Whelan, (KSDE staff attorney), Donna Whitman (KASB staff attorney) and Cindy Kelly (USD 501 staff attorney) responded to these common school-based concerns. A panel of three superintendents (Sue Givens, El Dorado; Rick Doll, Lawrence; and John Severin, Hiawatha) wrapped up the discussion. In the spirit of partnership KELI represents, KASB hosted this Let’s Talk session in their meeting facilities and Pam Coleman, KSDE Director of Teacher Evaluation and Licensure, served as Moderator.
  • Social Media/Technology Innovations
    April 5, 2012
    • The Let’s Talk topic on April 5 related to social media and technology innovations– issues touching all Kansas districts. Cyndi Danner- Kuhn teaches students in KSU pre-service classes how to use technology to support learning and assists school districts with this across the state and beyond. She provided an overview of how schools in Kansas make effective use of technology, the problems commonly encountered and examples of districts have overcome them. Four Kansas leaders presented the challenges their districts successfully managed related to technology. Chief of Staff, David Smith (KCKPS) described how a district funded the infrastructure and equipment needed for a one to one computer initiative. Kevin Case (Inman) focused on how technology implementations changed the culture in his district and Paul Dorathy shared how Baldwin City developed policies related to the use of social media. Jerri Kemble (Centre) described her experiences starting a virtual school in a small rural district and her participation in the virtual school movement nationally. Topics related to leaders at all levels and those attending had an opportunity to interact with presenters and to network with others with common concerns.
  • Common Core/21st Century Curriculum/Accreditation
    May 3, 2012
    • Everyone is talking about the transition to Common Core Standards! Nationally recognized experts, KSDE Summer Academies, and professional organizations are offering meaningful support for transition planning. KELI’s niche is to support the leaders whose decisions create conditions for transition efforts to succeed. On May 3, Kansas superintendent/principal/and teacher leaders shared what they have learned about making it happen in real Kansas districts now. Wherever your district was in the transition process, this session was useful as leadership teams developed local plans for next year. KELI encouraged districts to bring leadership teams. During the session, leaders networked with others to discover new resources and ideas. Participants also helped KELI plan for ongoing similar conversations during the coming school year. Teams had agenda time to plan next steps in their own districts, such as who to send to the Summer Academies and how to put what they bring back to the best use. The process of transition is not content specific, so leaders across all content areas found the topics applicable.

What's New Seminar Series (2013)

  • How Leaders are Preparing for New Standards, for College and Career Readiness, and for Significant Changes in Student Achievement
    March 8, 2013
    • The day began with the latest information from the KSDE Director of Research and Evaluation and Career Standards and Assessment Services and his staff assistant. Tom Foster and Laurie Winter connected the College and Career Ready definition recently adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education to efforts by schools to transition to new College and Career Ready (CCR) standards with the assessments used to measure student achievement. More rigorous standards for students will require a proactive response by educators to school accountability. Changes in both the standards and how we assess students present challenges that policy makers will need to give careful consideration. Dr. Foster discussed the new definition and its implications, review new standards in core academic areas and present an update on both the new assessments and proposed changes in the current assessments. Participants had the opportunity to review the latest in test item technology and the next generation standard development, discuss emerging trends at the state and national level, and provide input on Kansas educational policy. Practitioners from Kansas school districts shared what leaders are doing in their own settings to prepare for these changes.

Principal Mentoring/Induction Pilot Program (2013-2014)

Support of building level leadership has been a significant part of the vision for KELI since its inception. The outline for KELI’s five-year plan included initiating mentoring and induction services for principals during the third KELI year. In alignment with that plan, during the 2012-2013 school year, KELI organized the Building Leader Mentoring/Induction Task Force to study how to best use research and best practice to construct a support system for first year building leaders in Kansas schools. Members of the task force were selected by partners and professional organizations to include representatives from all school levels across the state. Because many districts already provide some degree of mentoring and induction support for new principals in their district, superintendents were also represented in the task force.

Organizations represented on the task force were: United School Administrators, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas State University, Kansas School Superintendents Association, Kansas State Department of Education, Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals, Kansas Administrators of Middle Schools Association, and Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals.

→ Future Options for Principal/Mentoring Induction Services (PDF)

Based on the work of the Building Leaders Mentoring/Induction Task Force, a pilot program was initiated by KELI in August 2013 to provide more information on how to best support building leaders in Kansas Schools. Highlights of the pilot program include:

  • 19 first year Kansas principals were enrolled by their districts for KELI mentoring/induction support throughout the 2013-2014 school year.
  • 17 practicing, veteran Kansas principals, were nominated by their respective superintendent and agreed to serve as mentors during the pilot year. Each new KELI principal was assigned a veteran mentor from a similar level, from an outside district. In two districts, two new principals at the same level in the same district shared a mentor. KELI provided mentors with structured training in coaching skills from a certified trainer.
  • KELI mentors and mentees agreed to meet face to face a minimum of five times and to interact in other ways as helpful throughout the school year.
  • Pilot year experiences will be used in formulating future program decisions for KELI principal mentoring and induction services.

Professional Learning for Principals Series (2013-2015)

  • Accreditation: Needs Assessments, Setting Goals, and Providing Evidence
    November 13 and November 20, 2013
    • Principals had the opportunity to work within small groups throughout the day using needs assessments, making professional learning decisions, creating a course of action for schools/districts, and setting goals. Principals were welcome to bring leadership teams to this session.
      • How will accreditation affect schools?
      • What will the new accreditation model demonstrate?
      • What “Counts” as Evidence?
      • How will goals be set?
  • Inter-rater Agreement, Bias, Walk-through Observation, Critical Conversations and Meaningful Feedback
    February 12 and February 19, 2014
    • This session was designed to assist principals in the tasks required by their positions. The focus of this session was on formal and informal observation, conducting walk-through observations, and providing the kind of feedback that is meaningful to all parties during evaluation.
      • What does inter-rater agreement mean and how can evaluators best monitor agreement for evaluation?
      • What steps can be taken to avoid bias in evaluation and feedback?
      • How can walk-through observations be conducted fairly and accurately?
      • What kind of feedback is most meaningful during the evaluation process?
  • Building Leadership Capacity in Myself and Others
    April 23, 2014
    • This session was designed to assist principals in developing critical skills for building leadership capacity and what that means in their role as building leaders. Questions addressed: What challenges are building administrators facing? What are building leaders doing to address these challenges? And, how do building lead-ers build time for their work by building skills in others?
    • Presenters: Scott Myers, Director TLA, KSDE; Brad Neuenswander, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Learning Services, KSDE; Principal Panel and Principal Roundtable Facilitators
  • Performance Evaluation
    September 24 and October 1, 2014
  • Assessment of Student Progress
    November 29, 2014
  • Accreditation: Step by Step
    January 21, 2015
  • Assessment and Accreditation
    February 12, 2015
    • Guiding teachers in preparation for student learning
    • Step by step with the New Accreditation Process
    • Leadership strategies for practitioners – preparing for new Assessment and Accreditation

Professional Learning for District & Building Leaders Series (2015-current)

  • Leaders Supporting Every Student Every Day: Access for All
    November 3, 2015
    • Promoting the Intentional Collaboration of Educational Leaders
      • information sharing
      • shared decision making
      • shared responsibility for meeting state/federal requirements
    • Fostering a culture in which all students deserve access to quality education
    • Ensuring all students receive access to quality instruction
  • Leaders Matter: Leading Change for Success
    December 2, 2015
    • How do administrators lead change successfully? Whether it's educator evaluation, accreditation (KESA), construction projects, new board members (community involvement), PLCs, or some other challenge you face, effective planning and implementation are the keys to success.
      • Address YOUR challenges, explore models of change, best practices and strategies, plus standards for professional learning
      • Use change strategies to inform/shape YOUR practice
      • Learn from Kansas practitioner leaders from the field
      • Create a plan to go from knowing to doing
  • Implementing KESA
    February 26, 2016
    • Learning Outcomes:
      • Understand terminology of the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) model
      • Classify evidence of growth according to the components of "the Five R's" framework
      • Assess a mock school's needs in two of the R rubrics using evidence provided
      • Synthesize mock school's needs assessments into one district-level needs assessment of the two Rs
      • Analyze a mock unified school district's level of readiness for KESA
      • Evaluate participant's own school's needs in one of the four "R" rubrics, providing evidence for each criterion's score
  • Leadership in a Trauma-Sensitive Learning Environment
    November 16, 2016
    • Former teacher and veteran school principal Pete Hall shared how to create and nurture a school environment that provides a safe, healthy, and strength-focused atmosphere – for students and the adults who support them. In this engaging, informative session, Pete defined trauma, understanding its impact, and ways to help teachers create trauma-sensitive classroom environments – supporting motivation, relationships, management, and student learning. He helped participants understand what trauma is and how it hinders the learning, motivation, and success of all students in the classroom. With easily implementable strategies for building strong relationships and creating a safe space to enable students to learn at high levels, this session addressed the leadership approaches that helps the adults stay on their A games… so their students can too. Pete Hall is a speaker, author, and professional development agent for schools and districts across the globe. He is the author of more than a dozen articles on school leadership and six books, including Fostering Resilient Learners.
  • Servant Leadership: Diversity, Values and Cultural Differences
    September 28, 2017
    • Leadership is not about you. Leadership is about serving. This workshop addressed the philosophy of servant leadership and each individual’s answer to the call to duty and active rise to their full potential through serving. Learning to accommodate cultural differences is important for administrators in order to be successful in the school environment. Aspects of cultural differences, strengths and challenges were examined and examples provided. Using her life story as a relatable and captivating example, presenter Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch traced the lessons gained through her family’s experience in the barrios of Laredo, Texas that provided the foundations that led to her eventually receiving an award from the President at the White House. She gently guided the participants to a better understanding of cultural differences and similarities, as she emphasized that appreciation of diverse cultures and their contributions to today’s society is a very important element of team-building and team-work, which makes for a successful, productive work environment. Consuelo challenged participants to likewise look inwards and face the inhibitions to their utmost potential and to consider what that entails. She stressed the importance of “preparing tomorrow’s leaders today!” She provided an understanding that “leadership” is not just a framed, wall decoration, but it is necessary action that one must make for the betterment of their community and the generation to follow.