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NHEESS awards grant to advance educator leadership development at Keene State College

Leaders in education need unique training and skills development to be successful in complex and ever-changing educational systems. The Keene State College (KSC) Educational Leadership Program will be able to enhance their successful efforts to do just that through a grant from the NH Educator Effectiveness for Student Success (NHEESS). The 18-month grant will help KSC increase leadership capacity and continue to support the development of new leaders for New Hampshire regional school districts in the southwest region through a leadership consortium of school districts established by the college in 2017.

The Southwest NH Regional School Leadership Consortium (RSLC) currently includes five SAUs that are working to build leadership capacity. The consortium has assisted with curriculum development and has worked on recruiting leadership talent and designing programming to support leadership development.

In 2019, an initiative of the Consortium involved the development of a Leadership Academy at the Jaffrey Rindge Cooperative School District (JRCSD). This effort included engaging those who want to move into a teaching or building level leadership role in the future. In August, 23 candidates completed the program and a new cohort of candidates was initiated in fall 2020 including the coaching and mentoring of existing leaders at (JRCSD). In addition to enhancing various initiatives like the academy, the project will focus on curriculum development for the KSC Educational Leadership Program by aligning program standards and emphasizing inclusive leadership.

“The Keene State project’s focus on program curriculum development and leadership capacity building are in direct alignment with the focus identified by the NHEESS initiative to build regional leadership capacity across the state and develop regional principal leadership and teacher leadership pipeline initiatives. “The KSC Educational Leadership Program has a strong track record of training educational leaders and we’re so pleased to be able to accelerate their work through this grant,” said Andra Hall, member of the NHEESS senior leadership team and special education coordinator at John Stark Regional High School.

NHEESS has been able to award three grants this fall that align with its mission and two core goals for the near term. Those goals are to develop leadership capacity in teachers to provide authentic opportunities to influence change in our schools and support the building of regional partnerships between local education associations and educator preparation programs.

“To be successful educational leaders, lifelong learning is critical. Being able to tap current leaders to help craft curriculum helps us maintain relevancy, share best practices, enhance learning and ultimately, build leadership capacity. This grant will further these efforts,” said Steve Bigaj, Ph.D., coordinator of the Educational Leadership Program at KSC and director of Southwest Center for Educator Supports.

To learn more about the initiative contact Steve Bigaj, Ph.D. at or 603.358.2872.

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