Academic Leaders do their best work when they can connect with colleagues across schools to share goals, challenges, and successes. Our peer Cohorts are all included in schools' membership. 23-24 Cohort Series at the Association for Academic Leaders includes:
If you want to be an Academic Leader who thinks ahead, it's crucial to look beyond your own campus and build strong networks in the independent school community. One strategy that's been generating a lot of buzz is forming professional cohorts. These cohorts create a special opportunity for like-minded individuals to come together, share ideas, and grow together. For Academic Leaders, joining professional cohorts offers a chance to grow and transform professionally.
But here's where the real magic happens: making connections. Through online platforms, calls, or emails, you'll build a supportive network of professionals who are ready to share ideas, seek support, and broaden their perspectives. We spoke to two participants from last year's professional cohorts at the Association for Academic Leaders: Ianthe Hershberger, Lower School Director at the Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, and Connie White, Director of Learning Design and Innovation at Woodward Academy.
One thing became clear: staying relevant is vital. These cohorts address the specific needs of your role, whether through readings or spontaneous discussions. Ianthe quickly connected with her cohort peers, and Connie pointed out how collaboration within these cohorts strengthens ideas and amplifies plans. Participants gain valuable insights into the challenges professionals face in different fields, especially in terms of school climate, pedagogy, and innovation.
Bringing together Academic Leaders in similar roles unleashes the power of collaborative thinking. Connie highlighted how seeking ideas from colleagues engaged in similar work strengthens projects and leads to groundbreaking ideas. Cohort conversations provide the perfect platform to articulate your plans and nurture innovative concepts that surpass your own expectations. Connie stressed the incredible value of learning from experienced professionals in their fields, while experienced educators see the worth of listening to colleagues just starting their leadership journeys.
Connie’s message was simple, but powerful: we can accomplish so much more when we open ourselves up to collaboration, learning from each other and forming meaningful partnerships that foster growth. That’s why professional cohorts are so important: they foster relevant and timely discussions, encourage open exchange and networking, and inspire collaborative thinking. These communities pave the way for personal growth, meaningful connections, and innovative breakthroughs. When you join a cohort, you unlock a world of progress and success in your professional journey.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)