Texas Wesleyan University has named two key administrators to help manage the Leadership Academy Network, a first-of-its-kind partnership with Fort Worth ISD designed to sustain and grow academic success at five once-struggling PK-8 schools.

Earlier this year, Fort Worth ISD contracted with Texas Wesleyan to build upon the positive results of its Leadership Academy model, TWU said in a news release.

Whitney Clark, as academic officer, will be responsible for maintaining a culture of instructional excellence, high student expectations and social-emotional support, the university said.

She will work with campus instructional coaches, monitor and customize implementation of curriculum, coordinate development of assessment processes and assist in the creation of annual school improvement plans.

Christopher Shropshire,  in his role as operations officer, will oversee contractual relationships and provide support to campus principals while monitoring overall operations. He will draft Leadership Academy Network budgets, supervise assessment logistics and support contract negotiations and maintenance.

Both will work under the leadership of Priscila Dilley, who was named the network’s top administrator in May. Dilley previously served as executive director of Fort Worth ISD’s Office of Innovation and Transformation and launched the Leadership Academy initiative in 2017 at Como Elementary School, Maude I. Logan Elementary School, Mitchell Boulevard Elementary School, John T. White Elementary School and Forest Oak Middle School. These schools will continue as the first campuses in the Leadership Academy Network.

“Whitney and Chris are passionate educators whose background and experience demonstrate their ability to translate an education vision into real, tangible results,” Dilley said in the news release. “They will play a vital role in building on the District’s Leadership Academy model and enriching the lives of students to help prepare them for college, career and community leadership.”

Clark is a former administrator, instructional specialist and teacher for Fort Worth ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University and a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.

“As a principal, I always told my students to stay committed to the finish line. That persistence is more important than ever as we continue to transform the traditional approach to education to meet the needs of students,” Clark said.

Shropshire has administration experience in K-12 and university settings. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Northwood University. Shropshire is a doctoral candidate in the executive cohort of the higher education administration program at the University of Alabama. Before joining the Leadership Academy Network, he oversaw charter school systems sponsored by universities in Michigan.

“Throughout my career, I have focused on shaping education environments to cultivate holistic student development and drive student achievement, and I am dedicated to bringing that approach to the Leadership Academy Network,” Shropshire said.

Nikita Moye – photo – will be principal of the Leadership Academy at John T. White Elementary, where Tamara Dugan is retiring after 15 years as a Fort Worth ISD administrator.

Moye previously served as John T. White’s assistant principal. She has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Langston University. She began her career as an elementary teacher in Fort Worth ISD and went on to earn a master’s degree in educational administration from TCU while working in the district’s Elementary Literacy Department. Moye is a former administrator at Bill J. Elliott Elementary School and the Leadership Academy at Maude I. Logan Elementary.

The Leadership Academy Network was established in 2019 to sustain rising academic performance of the district’s five Leadership Academies, TWU said in the news release.

Piloted by the district in 2017, the Leadership Academy model is based on instructional excellence, extended learning, social-emotional support, highly qualified principals and teachers and parent and community partnerships. First-year results showed improvement at all schools.

Texas Wesleyan was selected by Fort Worth ISD to sustain and support this model by managing the schools in accordance with a performance contract mutually negotiated by the partners, the release said.

The partnership is made possible by 2017 Texas Senate Bill 1882, which enables districts to expand the diversity of school options, bring in targeted expertise and empower school leaders and partners with greater autonomy.

– FWBP Staff

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