Leadership Development Fellowship

Two Educators Complete Leadership Development Program
Posted on 06/05/2024
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Two teachers and instructional coaches in Bristol Township School District, Jillian Cargill and Malikah Upchurch, recently completed the Bucks County Leadership Development Fellowship (LDF) program through the Bucks County Intermediate Unit.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Amy Coleman nominated Cargill, instructional coach at Mill Creek Elementary School, and Upchurch, instructional coach at Neil A. Armstrong Middle School, for the LDF program.

"Jillian and Malikah are outstanding educators who are dedicated to the students of the Bristol Township Schools," Superintendent Michael Nitti stated. "I know that having the opportunity to go through this program will be beneficial to them and ultimately to all the students they serve."

This is the seventh and largest cohort of the LDF program with 37 leaders across Bucks County earning a certificate of completion. The group met monthly from December through May with each meeting focusing on a different topic, such as instructional leadership, mindful leadership and data evidence.

“My favorite part of the program was networking with professionals from many different backgrounds across Bucks County and gaining perspectives from various leaders,” said Upchurch.

Upchurch and Cargill often collaborate with other teachers and instructional coaches, but this program gave them the opportunity to network with leaders in transportation, administration and other departments in school districts. Each meeting began with an icebreaker activity, followed by learning new tools and collaborating in groups.

“The most beneficial part of the program was to hear what initiatives other school districts are implementing and share ideas with one another,” said Cargill. “I developed great relationships and would have no problem reaching out to anyone in the cohort in the future.”

Moving forward, Cargill and Upchurch now have an evidence-based decision-making approach to lead in Bristol Township schools.

“I plan to regularly refer to, and reflect on, the Model for Managing Complex Change and the Eisenhower Matrix,” said Upchurch. “Our district is experiencing exciting shifts, so that will enable me to contribute more meaningfully and strategically. I also plan to use some of the reading activities to facilitate Action Research Book Studies!”

Cargill agreed that the Model for Managing Complex Change is a helpful tool to be reminded of when launching initiatives or new curriculum in the district.

“One of the biggest takeaways for me was learning the different leadership styles and how to work with individuals based on my style as well as their style,” said Cargill.

To any aspiring leaders to go through the program in the future, Upchurch says, “Make a commitment to be present. It can be hard to make the time for it, but it’s worth it.”

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