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Adam J. Holland


La Porte Independent School District administrators on Feb. 24 walked across a graduation stage of sorts in celebration of completing the first ever Holdsworth Leadership Collaboration.   

The Holdsworth Center is an Austin area nonprofit that aims to improve the quality of public education by strengthening its leaders. H-E-B Chairman Charles Butt founded the Center in 2017 and named it in honor of his mother, who was a teacher. The Holdsworth Leadership Collaborative is an 18-month program designed to help district leaders build a strong bench of aspiring principals.  

Attendees from La Porte ISD included Superintendent Dr. Walter Jackson, Executive Director of Human Resources Angela Garza-Viator, and Executive Director of Teaching and Professional Learning Julie Abram.  

“Our La Porte ISD team was deeply impacted by the leadership development work of the Holdsworth Center,” Dr. Jackson said. “We were taught, coached, and encouraged by some of the brightest scholars and leaders in the education and business field, including Fortune 500 company leaders, on how to develop and sustain effective organizational culture, while building sustainable leadership pipelines for structural continuity.”  

The district’s Aspiring Leaders Academy, a nine-month training program, is among the initiatives born out of the Collaboration. A member of the program’s first cohort in the 2021-22 school year has since been placed in an assistant principal position and another member has become the high school testing coordinator.  

La Porte ISD’s Leadership Definition is another result of the collaboration.  

 “Crafting the definition of leadership for principals, for assistant principals, and for all leaders in our organization is the start to having deep conversations about growth,” Abram said.  “When we all operate with a common understanding about what we expect great leadership to look like, we then begin reflecting and nurturing our development at every level.  This work, then, is just the beginning of the continued, focused work we will do to become the best leaders we can for our students.”  

The Leadership Definition took almost 18 months to develop, and its creation involved a diverse group of school district employees who met periodically to review and hone it. The definition will continually undergo review, according to Abram, so that it always aligns with the district’s goals and objectives.  

“As a 30-year veteran educator, my leadership capacity and educational perspective have been strengthened, stimulated, and inspired due to our engagement in this phenomenal collaborative,” Dr. Jackson said. “We are humbled and immensely grateful to the Holdsworth Center for its commitment to the strengthening of public education.”