D65 administration introduces Aspiring Leaders program to board


Daily file photo by Patrick Svitek

The Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Education Center, at 1500 McDaniel Ave. During Monday night’s meeting, board members voted unanimously to approve the 2021 tax levy.

Olivia Alexander, Senior Staffer

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 diversity hiring specialist Laketa Simpson, introduced the Aspiring Leaders program to the board Monday. 

She said the program, which the district created this year, aims to identify talented staff already placed within the district and encourage them to take on leadership positions in the near future. This is a strategy for investing in internal growth, rather than bolstering district leadership through outside hires, she added.

“What we’re looking for is a specific type of transformational leader,” Simpson said. “We are looking for leaders that are equity-centered, student-centered, have a mindset of excellence and are interested in staying in District 65 for the long-term.” 

Simpson said the program curriculum combines teaching Illinois performance standards for school leaders and implementing district-specific strategies for training new personnel. The latter includes Miracles Framework for Continuous Improvement, which is an improvement plan that emphasizes areas such as equity, quality instruction and sound financial planning. 

The methodologies of learning for Aspiring Leaders involve case studies, simulations, book studies and micro-courses created specifically for the program, Simpson said.

Some of the staff members identified themselves as incoming Aspiring Leaders attended the meeting. Superintendent Devon Horton commended the group for their time and effort spent preparing for their next roles in D65. 

“I want to say how important it is for me as a leader, and for our school board, to continue to cultivate the talent that’s already in our district,” Horton said. “As we shift and careers happen and life happens, we want to make sure that we can create a bullpen of really talented leaders that know our district, have been really supported and trained living in our district as we have opportunities come around. “ 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @oliviagalex 

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