In yesterday’s Catholic School Matters podcast (#43), Dr. Susan Abelein, the Director of Leadership Formation programs in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, discussed their innovative leadership programs.  The Onward Leaders program trains five leaders every year in a principal residency program.  This comprehensive program places five aspiring principals in leadership positions for one year, preparing each one of them for a principal position.

Onward Leaders is only one of their programs.  For first-year principals, they have an “Igniting the Fire” program offering those leaders specific professional development for new leaders.  For second-year principals, the “Fueling the Fire” program offers specific professional development for the second year.  And the “Stoking the Fire” program offers leadership development to all principals.

Leadership is a proven commodity and is needed for every school to be successful.  Developing the programs to support and form those leaders is equally imperative.  How a school system as large as the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (218 elementary schools, 20+ secondary schools, close to 80,000 students) develops a successful program is admirable and worth our attention.

We can’t simply hope to hire the best leaders and turn over the keys and wish them luck.  We need to form them with a framework that will promote growth.

Listen to the podcast directly here or on iTunes here.