Published on September 13, 2017 by Sara Roman  
Tri City Leadership Academy 2017

Orlean Beeson School of Education is proud to be a partner in the Tri-City Leadership Academy. The academy was established with the goal of building a community that would develop and empower leaders within the local education systems.

Orlean Beeson School of Education’s mission is to empower its students to educate, lead, and serve; enriching the community and making a positive difference in the world. “We are living our mission through this partnership,” said Julie Hannah assistant professor of educational leadership. “The Tri-City Leadership Academy is building lasting relationships between Samford and the community by using the skill sets of the education faculty to meet the needs of these districts.”

Last year, the academy allowed three school districts – Bessemer, Fairfield and Midfield – to come together and create a path to a better educational experience for their students and faculty. The academy is taking a new approach to creating a culture of leadership within districts, by updating the skills of current administration while simultaneously developing future groundbreakers.

“It has been incredible to watch leaders from each district emerge, facilitate discussions and ideas,” said Hannah. “The education school is happy to serve as thought partners and be supportive of their efforts.”

Many of the participants of the Tri-City Leadership Academy are current students in education school’s graduate programs. According to Hannah the academy served as a unique education experience for these students because they were able to experience first-hand practical content application.

“Through my experience in the classroom and Tri-City Leadership Academy, I have learned that I don’t have to wait until I am in a key administration position to contribute to my school’s vision,” said Kim Mitchell, educational leadership student and Fairfield City Schools teacher, “The Academy has helped shape a culture of respect and value in our school because we believe everyone and every position has ideas and a perspective to offer.”

Academy participant Tracey Goreed felt the session confirmed her district was headed in the right direction.  “I feel encouraged to continue,” said Goreed. “I know the importance of being intentional, consistent and spreading the message. Every teacher, stakeholder and community member has incredible value. By involving the community, we offer a culture of accountability and bring fresh outlooks to the table; it takes a village.”

Hannah states that Bessemer, Fairfield and Midfield were chosen because of the districts close proximity to one another. “Tri-City Leadership Academy has allowed for neighboring school districts to work hand-in-hand to build broad based leadership across west Jefferson County,” said Hannah. “It is through the generosity of the Charles Talbot Campbell Charitable Foundation that our academy has been able to continue to be an instrumental part of providing this opportunity within these communities.”

 “To have our three districts that have the same socio economic make up come together has enhanced relationships and uplifted us,” said Goreed. “Knowledge is power. It is our hope that any of our kids, no matter where they attend, will have the opportunity to obtain a quality education experience.”

 As the new school year begins, academy participants and Samford’s education faculty look forward to watching plans and visions come to fruition.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.