Kristi David principal at Wilson Elementary and Roland Ingram principal at Treasure Hills Elementary were among the 95 Principals sponsored by Raise Your Hand Texas to attend leadership programs at The Principal’s Center at Harvard this summer.

The event was a weeklong program that consisted of trainings and workshops taught by education and leadership experts at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The program allowed principals to network, set goals, and develop action plans to incorporate at their campuses.

Administrators were chosen to participate in one of six institutes through recommendations, a series of applications, essays, and interviews.

Kristi David, Wilson Elementary principal, attended the Leadership: An Evolving Vision Institute from July 10-16.

“I felt extremely honored to be selected and felt like it would be an opportunity for me to renew my spirit and help me continue to lead my staff in a positive direction,” David said. “I assumed that I would be exposed to a plethora of information I would be able to bring back with me and apply. However, what I didn’t expect is that I was really coming back with a network of insight and experience.”

David had the opportunity to connect with 170 leaders around the world and participate in discussions about related issues.

“Not only was I exposed to research, theory, and practice in a variety of educational topics related to my work, but I was also exposed to a world perspective of education,” David said. “I realized the issues I face here in the Rio Grande Valley are similar in some respects to issues faced in Qatar, Australia, Boston, Massachusetts, or Texas.”

She is grateful for the opportunity that Raise Your Hand Texas provided her.

“I am coming home with a wealth of information, strategies, and lifelong contacts that are an inspiration,” David said. “They are now my colleagues now with which I plan to work and share ideas with both personally and professionally. I owe Raise Your Hand Texas a world of thanks. I would never have had this experience without their support.

Roland Ingram, Treasure Hills Elementary principal, attended the Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership Institute from June 26 to July 2.

“At HCISD, I am surrounded by lifelong learners,” Ingram said. “From our superintendent to our teachers, we are all on a mission to improve our practice. It is an infectious feeling, and a philosophy I try to duplicate for not just myself, but also for my students and staff.”

Ingram was excited to be able to sit in on lectures delivered by Harvard Professors.

“These professors are in demand to speak all over the world. Any principal would be lucky to hear one in their career. We were able to hear three professors’ lectures a day and I was sharing and discussing the experience with educational leaders from all over the world,” Ingram said.

His experience at the leadership workshops exceeded his expectations.

“The thing I learned most was that, regardless of the level you lead, the part of the world you lead in, or the type of students and staff that you are a leader of, it is the passion that we hold for our profession that drives us and unites us,” Ingram said. “One thing I am very excited about is a component of RYHT that is going to allow us to lobby at the state legislature for improvements in our educational system. It is just another thing that makes the program so unique.”

Raise Your Hand Texas is a nonprofit advocacy organization working to strengthen and improve public education.

This year, Raise Your Hand Texas sponsored the largest group in its eight years history sponsoring principals from 61 school districts to attend the Harvard leadership workshops with all expenses covered.