Access to Leadership is an eight-session program that emphasizes mastering the skills to create visions, to inspire the commitment of others, to nurture creativity and to stimulate achievement. And they can effectively challenge what people hold dear – their daily habits, tools, loyalties, and ways of thinking. During the program, participants define and implement a project with the intention of impacting a community. They discover what it takes to generate an environment that is team-oriented, encourages partnership, and empowers people to provide their best.

The following is a description of what five teachers, including one of our course leaders, reported that they were able to accomplish when they participated on a school district committee that was established to research and pilot the math programs that closely follow the National Standards.


When we began meeting, we discussed the possibility of the committee and defined our commitment:  children having access to the finest mathematics education possible.  After almost 2 years of work, our committee made our recommendation to the district.  The directors in the district responded that the proposal was not feasible and advised us as to what they would adopt instead.

Our team met again to decide how to reply.  We resolved to request what we knew was best for the children, and to maintain our original proposal.  But we were clear that our recommendation wouldn’t be accepted just based on information. We developed a strategy for interacting with the district representatives.  Different people would present specific aspects of the plan at the meeting.  Each person had an assignment:  listen to a specific administrator and be accountable for that person clearly understanding what was being said.

The follow-up meeting was nothing short of amazing.  Initially the district personnel, including the assistant superintendent and curriculum director, were defensive and directing.  But the environment completely shifted.  They began hearing what we were saying and seeing the possibilities.  The meeting concluded with everyone aligned on exactly what our committee proposed.  One administrator had two observations:

This group couldn’t and wouldn’t accept less than what they felt was best.

This is the first time curriculum in the district has come from the teachers, rather than the top down.