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Elaine Schuster
Elaine Schuster, education fellow, leads an exercise during the Leading Successful Schools seminar in June.  Photo © Mary Hanlon

New nonprofit program producing results for education leaders

Running a school can feel like a juggling routine. In fact, some teachers have started tossing actual balls in the air. Among them is William Truesdale, principal of Chicago Public School's Taylor Elementary, who led his staff in this exercise at the start of the new school term this year.

He wasn't clowning around, but taking a serious look at how school leaders can learn new and better success strategies.

Truesdale learned the activity — an interactive team challenge designed to enhance collaboration — while participating in one of the Kellogg School's recently created executive programs directed at education leaders. Offered through the Center for Nonprofit Management, the multiday programs focus on leadership, combining theory and practice in a dynamic setting. Kellogg has spent two years developing the programs, which include the seminars Leading for Change and Leading Successful Schools. Each program runs over three days.

Truesdale attended both offerings, held in January and June, and says his staff has learned "how to be synergistic" and more effective in solving problems as a result. Kellogg has designed these seminars to equip school leaders with management skills to direct their organizations effectively.

Liz Livingston Howard '93, associate director of the Center for Nonprofit Management, said this is an important Kellogg initiative because "we have an expertise that school leaders need." She said the program has been "hugely successful" with more than 60 senior participants enrolling from a diverse range of schools. "School leaders often come to their positions with outstanding academic credentials and experience," said Howard. "However, few of them have management experience. Our programs help these leaders better understand the financial, leadership and management issues they will face."

These programs are supported by Kellogg experts and senior education practitioners. Elaine Schuster, former superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago, is the education fellow at the Center for Nonprofit Management. After spending 35 years in educational administration, Schuster was CEO and president of the Golden Apple Foundation, where she first connected with the Kellogg nonprofit center's executive offerings. When she heard that the center wanted to reach out to school leaders specifically, her expertise was a perfect fit.

She knows that today's academic executives are asked to direct a complex organization. Doing so demands knowledge of budgeting, management and fundraising, as well as the ability to work with a board and the local community. "The leadership skills, the research and the kinds of knowledge that come from the Kellogg School's professors can be of tremendous help," said Schuster.


Nonprofit center's rich programming
Founded in 1998, the Kellogg Center for Nonprofit Management is part of the school's Social Enterprise at Kellogg (SEEK) curriculum. It has four goals: to enhance the existing Kellogg School MBA curriculum; to expand its outreach with the nonprofit community; to initiate and support scholarly research in the sector; and to provide outstanding executive education programs for nonprofit leaders.

"We are truly a marriage of theory and practice," says Liz Howard '93, associate director. "We bring in top Kellogg faculty who know everything there is to know about the theoretical side of what they're teaching — whether it is leadership, accounting or marketing — and we match that with outstanding nonprofit practitioners who talk about how they've applied this information in real settings."

Besides Leading Successful Schools, the center has added Nonprofit Finance (Feb. 10-12, 2008) and Developing High Performing People (March 2-4, 2008). The center is also initiating custom executive education programs and continues to broaden its market reach. To learn more, visit the Center For Nonprofit Managment Web site.

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