Spotlight on Jackie O'Donnell

 Jacqueline O'DonnellLeadership programming at the PD Center is centered on more than simply compliance with the latest changes in state requirements. It is about going beyond in helping districts translate such knowledge into the meaningful work they are doing.

“The thing we've really done best here at Southern Westchester BOCES is we’ve recognized those compliance issues but then taken it to the level of what leadership really means,” says Deputy Superintendent and COO Jacqueline O’Donnell.

“How do we stay in compliance while we do the really meaningful work that changes practice and builds world-class schools?”

Doing so entails looking at models of leadership and identifying initiatives and best practices that reflect community goals. Evaluation is a reflective tool to help leaders decide where to grow and how to collect evidence along the way.

Legislative changes affecting APPR offer a key area of focus. Workshops throughout the year will support school leaders and provide the means by which boards of education certify individuals as evaluators of teachers and principals 

Direct support is provided to new principals and superintendents as well as leaders undertaking new initiatives or challenges. Experienced administrators lead regional thinking sessions and customize in-district support.

Monthly Curriculum Council meetings bring central office administrators together to focus on curriculum and instruction and the latest information regarding state reporting, new regulations and changes to standards. Drop-by lunch groups provide school building administrators deep-dive discussions on such salient issues as mental health, state standards and new initiatives on the horizon.

“It has been really exciting seeing people focused on what they really care about across their districts,’” Ms. O’Donnell says of this ongoing work. “Administrators are having meaningful conversations with one another about what leadership really looks like, and how we empower all of the leaders within our learning community. How do they come together and think deeply about teaching and learning around the standards? I think that’s the piece I’ve been excited about most.”