Students Achieve When Their Leaders Are Empowered

Bart Christie, Principal of Leewood School

Let’s take a look at Principal Bart Christie’s track record.

In 1999, he started as Principal of Bent Tree Elementary in Miami-Dade, a D school.  Next year, it climbed to a B.  It earned an A next year, and the next, continuously up to 2008, even after Christie left to lead a different school.

How did it happen? Sound and inspired leadership.  And according to Principal Christie, his leadership was developed  and empowered through the Council’s PASS© (Partnership to Achieve Success) model and work with Armando Codina.

“PASS isn’t a quick fix.  It’s a thoughtfully designed model,” says Christie.  “That’s why it’s such a longstanding success.  PASS develops leadership and then channels it to increase student achievement.  That’s how you get continuous improvement.”

Christie shares that the PASS CEO,—a successful business leader—brings a new dimension to the “business” of educating students.  PASS CEO Armando Codina inspired Christie to be a better leader. “Without a doubt, PASS percolates change and a new direction. The PASS CEO brings new strategies and tools that help you focus on your student performance mission and implement activities that move the achievement needle.”

Soon, he continued, that change becomes entrenched in the school culture, and equally important, in the behavior of the Principal.  It drives sustained performance and achievement.

“My PASS partnership ended in 2002, but there’s no expiration date on what I learned and how I apply it.  It’s part of me and will be as long as I serve as an educator,” Christie states. Over three years, Christie worked with PASS CEO partner Armando Codina, who Christie shares, was equally generous with his hands on-involvement and his financial support. Examples of standout leadership skills that Christie gained from PASS and his partnership with Codina include:

  • Consistent and informed use of drilled down student performance data to guide the instruction of every student
  • business approach—meeting and exceeding the customers’(students’) needs
  • incentives and rewards for performance—staff, parents, students
  • trifold involvement that engages and unites the school, parents and community in educational goals

Bart has been the Principal of Leewood School, a K-8 school in Miami-Dade, for the past five years.  When he started, it was an A school and he has maintained that A, despite the achievement bar being raised over the years.

He observes that funding cuts will make it harder to provide the same quality of education and achieve the same results.

“It’s not just our school budget.  Financial worries and uncertainty are pervasive—staff, the families of students, and our community.  PASS model schools are so fortunate,” says Christie.  “You have no idea of the profound and positive effect PASS has on everyone in a school and your outcomes.  The students get it better than anyone—someone cares, someone is helping, someone is proud of me, something wonderful is around the corner.  I applaud all of the PASS CEO’s and funders who are doing such an outstanding job and making such a significant contribution.”