Torrential downpours were no match for the Pasadena community’s interest in public education. Despite heavy rains and local flooding, around 60 business executives, educators, and community leaders packed a conference room at the Frank Braden Education Center for a Leadership in Education luncheon. The Pasadena luncheon was the latest in a series of Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Luncheons around the state that bring together local leaders to hear directly from educators about our work together, and to learn what they can do to support Texas students in our local public schools.
The event, coordinated by Raise Your Hand Texas Community Ambassador Laura Ewing, featured remarks by two area principals, Daniel Connolly of Bondy Intermediate and Kathy Connolly of Morales Elementary, who are not only husband and wife, but also both recent alumni of the Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program at Harvard University.
The two principals shared how their experiences advanced their perspectives on leading a school campus and widened their skill sets in very different ways. Principal Daniel Connolly spoke about his newfound passion for more inclusive teaching environments that integrate and engage special needs kids in traditional classrooms more than most schools do. Principal Kathy Connolly expressed how she returned from Harvard with a much more concrete way of measuring growth and progress among her school’s students throughout the school year.
Dr. Kirk Lewis, superintendent of Pasadena Independent School District, presented some of the stark realities facing the local community, including oppressive poverty levels and the need for more flexible and personally customized paths to high school graduation for students who choose to pursue either a college or career path.
Finally, Dr. David Anthony, CEO of Raise Your Hand Texas, brought home the message that the economy of Texas depends on the education of its students. He introduced the crowd to the major legislative initiatives that were debated during the 2013 session (public school funding, high-stakes testing, charter schools, vouchers, class requirements for graduation) and some of the likely topics of interest for the next legislative session in 2015.
The next Leadership in Education event will be held in Amarillo, TX, on November 6.
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Together, we can support all 5 million public school students, strengthen public schools, and build a strong future for Texas.