My Story: Heritage of “High-Caliber” Learning

    My Story: A Family Heritage Of “High-Caliber, High Capacity” Learning At Harvard

    Dr. Robert Long, III, Principal
    Ridgemont Elementary & Early Childhood Center
    Fort Bend ISD, Houston Texas
    Raise Your Hand Texas Alumnus ’14 (Harvard – Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership)

    I credit my family legacy and tradition with leading me not only to the role of principal, but also to the Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Hailing from a long line of educators, principals, and superintendents, I strive daily to continuously learn and grow so I can better serve my scholars, teachers, school, and the local community.

    My path to Harvard first began in the summer of 1992 as a junior in high school. Roland Long, my uncle and lifelong mentor, was a principal in a neighboring school district. Roland had attended the Harvard Summer Institute titled “The Art and Craft of Leadership.” Upon returning from his 10-day adventure, he felt reenergized, reinvigorated, and excited about his overall experience. The accomplished administrator sat me down and made me commit to setting a goal of seeking out what he referred to as “a high-caliber, high-capacity experience.” From that day forward, I set my sights on Harvard’s Principals’ Center as a major milestone along my career path.

    Throughout my career as an instructional leader, I frequently encountered alumni from the Harvard Principals’ Institute, all expressing the same sentiment: “The Harvard Principals’ Institute is a life changing and rewarding experience.” This feedback further fueled my resolve as I moved closer and closer to reaching this goal.

    Finally, in 2014, I applied for and was selected by Raise Your Hand Texas for sponsorship to attend a leadership program for principals at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The day I learned of my selection to participate in the “Art of Leadership” program, I celebrated by taking uncle Roland out for clam chowder.

    Like those before me, the Harvard experience changed me as a leader and empowered me with a heightened, relevant pedagogy in instructional leadership. What I learned helped inform and guide my campus improvement plan for the 2014-2015 school year. It also provided me with the framework for my entire annual professional development week. As a result, my campus has made tremendous strides in building instructional capacity, developing relational aptitude among teachers and staff, and providing a systematic approach to goal attainment and sustainability.

    The network of principals from around the world provided me with a collaborative support system of fellow instructional leaders and a touchstone to benchmark our continuous growth. And it gives all of us the opportunity to foster educational communities around the world.