What’s your name? What organization do you represent?
Marcie Byrd, Principal, Nash Elementary School
Chicago Public Schools
What was the leadership challenge or opportunity you faced that made you choose to work with Identity Capital Consulting?
There were a few challenges at Nash Elementary School when I first arrived. Nash Elementary needed a new vision—a new makeover from the past thinking and operational support in terms of connecting expenses to the experiences that we felt were essential for our scholars. We needed IDC to help Nash refine and renew its scope of assets in a way that would help improve outcomes for our kids and staff members. The school’s vision needed a strong modification and we knew that we needed to focus on galvanizing resources, creating a sentiment of purpose in instruction, and storytelling from the perspective of our community. This would ultimately steer results for our students, families, and Chicago Public Schools. Through processes set by IDC, our leadership team determined that we would fine tune our lens in order to cast vision backed by action.
Why did Nash Elementary Choose to work with Identity Capital?
We knew that we could depend on the experience and entrepreneurial mindset of Augie and his team of affiliates to help guide the process of re-imagining Nash as a community school that now (as a result of IDCs hands-on work) focuses on creating learning experiences that are endless in every single classroom. This may sound warm and fuzzy but the interworking of making this happen took hands on coaching, late night calls and a relationship that extended past limited hours of “normal business.” As a bonus, we created strategic ways to engage target groups of stakeholder (ie. young parents) that we would have normally missed given the busyness and heightened accountability you often feel in education. After all, sometimes the hectic day to day pressurizes creativity and innovation yet IDC consulting and tools keep us excited about how we can continue to innovate and enterprise at our school. Long are the days of a traditional focus needed to be improved to meet non-traditional groups within the school. Nash is evolving into been known as an innovative model for other schools in the district. IDC took a pioneering approach thats connected to educational improvements and programmatic shifts like the new fine art magnet program that we received given the direct service and support of this firm.
How is ID Capital helping to maintain the momentum that you’ve experienced as a leader?
Nash elementary is a small, yet growing school, located on the west side of Chicago. Yet, we continue to re-design our approach to gaining buy-in from our stakeholders to grow enrollment. ID Capital took a full steam ahead approach with me as a principal, our staff, and some of our students. The process of rebranding is not a ploy for windordressing. Some of the best schools in our country have antiquated websites and logos that aren't appealing. Yet, when you can update systems, create strategic alliances, and stimulate a culture for learning, you tap into this amazing thing called HOPE! We moved from a standard community based school to the only fine arts magnet school in our area. This win required the leadership team to be together in order to develop our new area of focus. The collegial and leadership coaching from IDCcapital has been our secret sauce. Together, we are now creating a more distributive approach to leadership and going into our next phase of convening, bridging gaps through productive accountability.
Nash Elementary has exceeded expectations by committing to an IDCapital ideal, entrepreneurial leadership. This is something that you must possess in a large district like Chicago Public Schools. We have doubled partnerships, exceeded the million dollar mark in adding resources, and we achieved fine arts magnet school status. On a more granular level, we see our University of Chicago 5Essentials survey results continuing to show more improved trust between teachers and leadership along with improved perception of how our leadership team functions. To get here, IDCapital customized Professional Development courses with staff, which were so successful that the staff is asking for more PD’s with the organization. IDCapital also worked with students which has aided positive behavioral change in the school culture as we apply tools like the SEE inventory in order to gain a deeper understanding of our students' experience in school as it pertains to emotional well being and equity. As an extra bonus, the team is led by Augie who happened to have been a transformational principal which gives him an empathetic and deeply understanding point of view and not just a sales pitch.
Augie has made the statement, "leaders don’t need another coach, they need a colleague!" What are your thoughts on this line of thinking?
Agree! Augie pushes my thinking and does it in a compassionate way. Colleague has a different look than coaching. Forcing her to reflect and not just do. Also, he and anyone he brings into my building get their hands on the work directly. That's not what I'm used to in my 25 years of experience.