Public education holds worth.
Public education holds worth.
This belief drives everything we do.
Our nation will thrive only if we have a strong public education system where all students feel a sense of belonging and are provided the best possible opportunities to succeed. We will have a strong public education system only if we have strong leaders.
Our work is to help educators across Texas grow into stronger leaders, and to give them the tools to construct their own leadership development systems that will outlast Holdsworth.
We believe this work is foundational and critical. The challenges of the pandemic combined with acute staff and teacher shortages have made the need for skilled leaders even more urgent.
“Leadership is the foundation. It's what everything else is built on. Our principal has changed what this school looks like through how she treats the teachers, how she treats the kids. She makes people want to be here.”
Leading change for students
As part of the 2-year Campus Leadership Program, teams identify an area connected to student learning and anchored in data where their campus has an opportunity to get better. Using a continuous improvement approach, teams learn how to tackle the issue by getting to the root cause, digging deep for solutions, setting goals and monitoring progress, and doing small tests to find out which strategies are working before applying them to the rest of the campus. In addition to making progress on their identified problem, after two years, leaders walk away with a set of skills and tools they can apply to any challenge that comes their way.
25 of 31
Number of campuses that either met or made substantial progress against a student impact goal they set and worked to achieve throughout the 2-year Campus Leadership Program
of leaders say Holdsworth has been influential in increasing their campus or district’s focus on achieving excellent and equitable outcomes for students
Laser focus on literacy gets big results
After digging into data, leaders at Ellis Elementary in Arlington ISD realized that only a third of their students were reading on grade level. By growing the mindsets and skill sets of teachers, introducing best practices and providing more support around lesson planning, Ellis was able to make tremendous progress despite the challenges caused by the pandemic and learn new ways to tackle any problem that stood in the way of their vision for Ellis students.
Students thrive when leaders focus on their well-being
Because students at the School for the Highly Gifted in Grand Prairie ISD are ahead of the curve when it comes to academics, people often assume they are emotionally mature. But in fact, they struggle with emotions like any other kid, sometimes expressed through angry outbursts, irritability, feeling down or just shutting down. That’s why school leaders chose to focus on helping students identify and harness their emotions using new coping skills.
People power change
Transformative change for Texas’ 5.5 million students will come from the educators teaching and leading in our schools today. Through our leadership curriculum and coaching experiences, Holdsworth takes leaders in its programs on a journey of self-reflection and skill-building to help them learn, grow and ultimately have a greater positive impact on students.
of leaders report making progress across all areas of our leadership curriculum
of principals grew in their leadership skills according to their campus team
of leaders said the program was beneficial and worth their time
I have seen throughout this pandemic time that strong leadership was VITAL to the success of students. The Holdsworth experience helped our team organize and develop their skills to be ready for this great challenge.”
– Claire PinaliEarly Literacy Specialist
This program changed me in ways that I didn't even know needed changing.”
– Raymond BordenPrincipal
Holdsworth gave me the validation that even as a classroom teacher, I am worthy of investment and have the capacity to grow others. Holdsworth changed my trajectory of always seeing myself as a changemaker in my classroom, to seeing myself as a changemaker in education.”
- Ashley Hentges5th grade teacher
The demand for great leaders never goes away, and is essential to student success. That’s why Holdsworth goes beyond developing individuals and works with districts to build best-in-class leadership development systems and create the right cultural environment for people to grow and flourish on every campus and in every classroom. Every time there is a principal opening, our goal is for districts to have at least two strong leaders ready to step into the role and make an impact for students from Day One.
Lockhart ISD transforms in Holdsworth Partnership
When Lockhart ISD began their work with Holdsworth, they had already committed to grow every student by 1.5 years each year in reading and math. Along with that ambitious goal came a “whatever it takes” mentality. As Superintendent Mark Estrada and his team began the 2-year District Leadership Program, self-reflection made them realize they needed to take a radically different approach to reaching their ambitious goal.
Building a bench of strong leaders
In order to grow more strong leaders, districts first define the qualities and behaviors of great leadership through a collaborative, yearlong process. The leadership definition provides clarity around what the district values, and a roadmap for staff to either grow in their current role or prepare for leadership roles. Leaders then learn to plan for vacancies – especially in principal roles – and to start identifying potential replacements early and truly prepare them for the challenges of the job.
of districts surveyed had at least one ready leader for each principal vacancy, a marked increase since the beginning of the Partnership
of surveyed teachers and administrators agreed that their district has clearly defined the characteristics of great leadership
of districts who have been in the Partnership for at least two years have put the leadership definition to work and created a process for determining when aspiring leaders are ready for a leadership role
of superintendents rated their talent pipeline as stronger than when they began
Holdsworth really did a mindshift for us. We used to be focused on, ‘How do we make principals better in their roles now?’ We’re in such a different place – now, it’s about preparing for the future.”
– Alicia NoyolaSuperintendent, Harlingen CISD
You don’t know what you don’t know. As we started to engage with Holdsworth, we realized we were using a lot of subjectivity in our leadership identification. As we became more objective...it was a significant transformation that will ultimately impact our students.”
– David VroonlandSuperintendent of Mesquite ISD
There was a lot of untapped talent in our system. Now we are more intentional about identifying our high potential talent and supporting them in their current role or aspiring one. This helps us retain more of our top talent, and it makes staff feel valued and respected so they can focus on what matters most: students.”
– Dr. A. Tracie BrownChief Schools Officer, Arlington ISD
Underlying the work to create new talent development systems is building a positive culture where staff and faculty are not just “punching a clock,” they are energized and committed to the district’s mission and take initiative to do what needs to be done to support coworkers and students. To achieve that, leaders must learn to cultivate the kind of trust that not only keeps staff in the district, but makes them excited to keep growing and contributing to the mission.
of districts have seen an increase in principal engagement since the beginning of the Partnership
It's okay to have ambitious goals for kids. But if you as a leader are doing that in a way that isn't rallying people, supporting them and getting them to buy into what the district is doing, then you're just this person chanting demands and not leading any type of change.”
– Mark EstradaSuperintendent, Lockhart ISD
How we achieve our mission
Our mission is to impact, over time, the quality of public education for all Texas students by supporting and developing educational leaders. We do that through three offerings – The Holdsworth Partnership, The Holdsworth Leadership Collaborative and the Superintendent Leadership Program. In our programs, superintendents, central office administrators, principals, assistant principals, teachers and other instructional leaders engage with some of the nation's top experts in their fields from a variety of sectors, including K-12 education, academia, government and business. Learn more about the leaders we serve and the districts where we work.
A 5-year partnership to help school districts grow more outstanding leaders at all levels of the system. We start by giving teams of leaders at the district and campus levels the inspiration, tools and resources needed to grow through our 2-year District and Campus Leadership Programs. In addition, Holdsworth District Support Team members are embedded within districts to help central office leaders create the cultural environment and systems needed to create their own bench of strong leaders.
An 18-month program designed to help district leaders build a strong bench of aspiring principals who are ready to step into school leadership positions when they arise. A team of three – the superintendent and two district leaders – work with Holdsworth staff to define what great leadership looks like in their district and use this definition to design systems to strengthen and sustain their school leadership pipeline.
An 18-month program that supports superintendents as they navigate unprecedented challenges while serving in a role that impacts educational quality for scores of Texas students. The program provides development in the most challenging, high-stakes, and high-leverage aspects of the superintendent’s job, as well as support from a network of peers and executive coaching from Holdsworth’s superintendents-in-residence.
Five years of growth
In January 2017, founder Charles Butt announced the creation of The Holdsworth Center. By June, the Center had welcomed its first seven public school districts from across Texas into the 5-year Holdsworth Partnership and teams of central office leaders had begun the 2-year District Leadership Program.
A space for learning
In 2021, we welcomed our first leaders to the Campus on Lake Austin, the first of its kind in the nation. When H-E-B Chairman Charles Butt founded Holdsworth in 2017, he envisioned the campus as a place for hardworking educators to receive rigorous professional learning in a world-class setting. A metal badge mounted on the administration building sums it up perfectly: Public education holds worth. Take a virtual tour here or read an in-depth take on the Campus and its founder in Texas Monthly Magazine.
As an educator, your mind is constantly going all of the time. When you walk onto this campus, you're in a peaceful place where everybody else is feeling the same way and you can decompress together.”
– Nicole PatinPrincipal
Education leaders react to first visit
Calming. Quiet. Serene. Beautiful. Watch campus leaders from across the state as they pack up their cars and arrive for the first time at the Campus on Lake Austin to celebrate their graduation from The Holdsworth Center’s 2-year Campus Leadership Program.
Thank you to our supporters
My investment in The Holdsworth Center is a vote of confidence in our public schools.”
- Charles Butt
Since our founding in 2017, we have benefitted from the unwavering support of our founder, Charles Butt, whose generous contributions launched The Holdsworth Partnership and helped expand our program offerings.
In 2021, we are grateful to new supporters who have joined in our efforts to make long-term, sustainable improvements within our Texas public schools, including many of the organizations below and.
Bank of America
The Burdine Johnson Foundation
Knox Holt Foundation
Sid Richardson Foundation