Harlandale Leadership Academy equips educators with new skills

The Harlandale Leadership Academy (HLA) held its first official meeting of the school year with aspiring district leaders on Sept. 13.

HISD Superintendent Rey Madrigal and Executive Director of Human Resources Diana Tudyk met with selected teachers to help them develop and strengthen effective leadership skills. They were also joined by Juaquin Zavala, a Terrell Wells Middle School teacher who attended the academy last school year. He provided some insight to the program by sharing his personal experience with this year’s HLA participants.

 “I was fortunate enough to be part of a select group in the inaugural HLA program,” Zavala said. “Being exposed to various district departments provided an invaluable experience and perspective of how the varying departments interact together.”

Zavala had the opportunity to work directly with the Maintenance and Child Nutrition Departments. 

“I enjoyed meeting and working with personnel from each of those departments and look forward to working with them again,” he said. “Overall, it was highly beneficial to see how all of our district departments and personnel are here to support each other and how we all share a common goal of achieving student success.”

Prior to becoming an educator, Zavala held a leadership role at a community bank in which he supervised numerous lending functions that expanded across 40 employees and 12 branch locations. However, the academy helped him gain a new leadership perspective needed in an educational setting.

“Being engaged with veteran administrators and district personnel throughout the HLA program promotes your communication and collaboration skills across varying departments,” Zavala explained. “I was able to develop a tangible framework of the support systems throughout the district that support campus administrators in their pursuit to support their campus or department.”

Now entering his fifth year of teaching, Zavala was happy to join the first meeting of this year’s HLA program to meet the new participants.

“I enjoy taking advantage of opportunities to collaborate and meet other colleagues from around the district. I look forward to contributing in any capacity I may be called upon for this year’s HLA program,” he said.

The new participants can expect an interactive training experience this year. The academy will assist teachers as they remain a teacher leader or as they transition from preparation to the actual practice of campus administrator. The program will continue throughout the school year and includes a summer internship.

“The program seeks to cultivate leaders from within our ranks,” Tudyk said. “They are employees with the will, so we are providing the way!”

The Harlandale Leadership Academy (HLA) held its first official meeting of the school year with aspiring district leaders on Sept. 13

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