Helios Education Foundation Grant Will Boost Leadership Training for 1,400+ School Leaders

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Crisis Training, Cultural Responsiveness & Online Content among Priorities

Helios Education Foundation has awarded the Arizona School Administrators (ASA) a $260,000 grant to improve leadership training among school leaders at all levels.

The three-year grant will enhance ASA’s conferences and trainings, as well as place an emphasis on expanding online content to bring educational opportunities closer to individual school districts and administrators, particularly those in rural Arizona.

The funding will also enable ASA to develop resources and training materials – including recruiting experts – to address some of the most pressing issues in today’s society, including crisis response to COVID-19, cultural responsiveness and closing the education gap among low-income and students of color.

“This grant could not have come at a better time for this organization and its 1,400 members who come from nearly every public school district from across the state,” said Dr. Mark Joraanstad, ASA Executive Director. “Schools characterized by strong, visionary, supportive leaders who create a collaborative culture are more likely to recruit and retain high-quality, effective teachers – a key factor in student success across the education continuum. In short, school leadership matters to the student experience and student outcomes.”

“Schools across the state and nation, just like society at large, are beset with challenges, from how to appropriately and safely respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to addressing deep-rooted cultural inequities among student populations,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation. “It’s our belief that we need strong educational leaders now more than ever who can rise up and find solutions in these unprecedented times.”

The grant also includes the first opportunity for Arizona to host the National Superintendent Certification Program, which provides a state-of-the-art, innovative curriculum to school leaders, culminating in a 20-month capstone project around an issue or initiative to transform a district’s schools and encourage greater student learning. 

A mentor will be assigned to each superintendent to support and guide the participant through the process. The training will feature the use of online technology to reduce or eliminate travel in this pandemic era.

“I am always proud to work alongside Arizona School Administrators and could not be more hopeful for this program to launch,”  said Kathy Hoffman, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This program reflects Arizona’s dedication to fostering strong, innovative, and stable district leadership across our state. Strong school leaders are essential not just to a district office, but to the success students, teachers, and principals across a school community.”

 “Bringing trainings to school districts through webinars, virtual meetings and other innovative methods is so important to rural districts across Arizona, especially in these times of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Globe Unified School District Superintendent Jerry Jennex.

“Arizona educators are fortunate for this partnership between ASA and Helios which provides a valuable opportunity for leaders to build relationships learning together while improvising student outcomes during these unprecedented times,” said Dr. Kristi Wilson, Superintendent of the Buckeye Unified School District and President of the American Association of School Administrators.  “It is critical leaders are equipped with a network of colleagues they can count on who are versed in best practices centered on culturally responsive pedagogy and student first priorities.”