Trailblazer Program Cultivates Next Generation of School Leaders
Clear Pathways for Career Advancement Support VCP Talent Retention Goals
Victory College Prep (VCP) has launched the Trailblazer Program, a two-year leadership development program designed to provide existing VCP staff members an opportunity to hone their leadership skills and their ability to influence others.
The inaugural cohort of 8 VCP faculty and staff members opened the program in August 2023 and will meet monthly over two years (excluding summer school breaks) to develop the skills needed to become successful academic team leaders. Each trailblazer has dedicated themselves to their growth and the advancement of the VCP School Network community. For this commitment, Trailblazer Program participants receive a financial stipend.
“As a school leader who started as a teacher myself, I’m proud of our efforts to launch the Trailblazers program,” says Chelsea Easter, VCP 7-12 School Principal. “This is a win-win for our school network and the people that work to advance its mission because the network realizes how our faculty and staff have a chance to improve professionally and personally.”
SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE
During their training and development, cohort members will complete a series of exercises and projects meant to empower them to make better, more informed choices as future VCP school leaders, including, but not limited to, these topics:
- Developing a leadership mindset necessary for successful leaders;
- Applying a leader mindset while practicing real-life situations;
- Unpacking key criteria for critical conversations;
- Planning, executing, and reflecting on an initiative, event, or program in the school.
“I’m excited to see how the skills we are developing in the cohort will help us in solving real-time situations that may happen before we even finish the program,” says Sarah Foltz, VCP K-12 ESL Coordinator. “Being able to learn and grow with direct support from my school has been motivating.”
A VISION FOR SUSTAINED SUCCESS
School networks and districts nationwide are experiencing significant pressure from a growing shortage of qualified teachers, making new hires and retention an ongoing pressure point. In Indiana alone, there are 1,800 vacancies for support staff and teachers among its 216 independent school districts. The National Education Association (NEA), the country’s largest teachers union, found the U.S. talent gap to be 300,000 certified teachers.
VCP believes the Trailblazer Program will help it better bridge the growing talent gap by allowing the network to grow its own talent. Creating such an internal pipeline provides vital cover from the challenge headwinds of the hiring market.
“We want our team to feel they have a workplace that cares about their professional development and growth,” says VCP Executive Director Ryan Gall. “When we invest in them, we have to believe they will continue to invest in us, and this is how we become stronger and better by creating an internal pipeline of passionate VCP staff who will stay with us and leverage their new leadership skills to benefit their peers and, most importantly, our students.”
MEET THE INAUGURAL VCP TRAILBLAZERS
EL Coordinator, 7-12 School
6 years teaching experience | Teach for America alum | high school soccer coach
Juan Cahue leads English Learner education planning for students in the VCP 7-12 School and plays a vital role in whole school network community-building by providing essential translation and related engagement services for the network’s ESL (English as a Second Language) families across all grade levels. His passion for youth development dates back to first professional experience as a program coordinator with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Greater Chicago area, and he holds a Master of Arts in Secondary Education from Marian University.