The Holdsworth Center, an educational leadership institute, selects six Texas school districts for a five-year partnership

AUSTIN, TX, April 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Six independent school districts in Texas were chosen to partner with the Holdsworth Center, a non-profit organization founded by the President of HEB Charles Butt.

ISD Center-East in San AntonioLaredo ISD, Victoria ISD and Cedar Hill, Garland and Dallas ISD in north texas were all selected for five years, $36 million strategic partnership that helps districts develop their own cadre of strong, capable leaders who create conditions in which teachers thrive and all students get what they need to succeed.

Collectively, these districts serve nearly 265,000 students in nearly 400 schools and employ 36,000 faculty and staff. Click here for more detailed data on each district.

The selection marks the latest expansion of The Holdsworth Partnership which now serves 19 school districts in Texas. By 2028, the partnership is expected to reach more than 4,500 educators, including teacher leaders, vice-principals, principals and central office administrators.

“Our ability as a state to recover from the impact of a global pandemic will depend on the skillful leadership of teachers, principals and district leaders serving Texas’ 5.5 million students,” said Dr. Lindsay Whorton, president of the Holdsworth Center. “We recognize the urgency of this moment and are honored to play a part.”

The six districts were chosen from a pool of 43 applicants, a 130% increase from the last application period in 2019. Click here to learn more about eligibility and the selection process.

With the opening of Campus on Lake Austin this summer – a permanent home for its staff and programs – Holdsworth hopes to expand program offerings and host events that will reach even more educators across Texas.

All programming and support, worth $36 million over five years, is covered free of charge thanks to the generosity of Charles ButtPresident of HEB, and other philanthropic supporters.

This figure includes the cost of:

  • Holdsworth integration District Support Team staff in each district for five years to help central office managers design, implement and maintain their own leadership development systems
  • Two-year benefit District and Campus Leadership Programs for multiple groups of central office and campus leadership teams
  • Provide districts with robust tools to measure district-wide staff culture and engagement and better understand student social-emotional learning.

Click here to learn more about each element and the timeline of the 5-year partnership.

“We don’t believe there are magic bullets in education. Investing deeply in the skills and abilities of the people working in our schools is the only way to see real transformation,” Whorton said. “This five-year partnership will help leaders expand their vision of what is possible for their district, create a vision for change, and drive the innovations needed to deliver on the promise of excellence and equity for all students. ”

The choice to focus on leadership is strategic. decades of research shows that effective principals can have a significant impact on student achievement by adding about three extra months of math and reading learning in a single school year. Since principals influence the working conditions and skill level of every teacher in the building, their impact is disproportionate.

During the five-year partnership, the districts strive to ensure that each school is served by an excellent principal with the goal of building a strong pool of candidates for each vacant principal position.

Identifying and developing exceptional leaders, from the classroom to the superintendent’s office, is complex work that requires:

  • Communicate a shared vision of what great leadership should look like
  • Create a positive and caring learning environment for students and staff
  • Build new systems and structures to ensure future leaders are identified early and have the opportunity to truly prepare for the next stage of their career

Holdsworth leaders have shown incredible growth as individuals and made big gains at the system and school level. Approximately 96% of leaders say they have developed beneficial new behaviors and mindsets as a result of Holdsworth; 97% agree that Holdsworth has helped increase their focus on delivering excellent and equitable student outcomes. Click here for more stories and impact data.

“COVID has tested every structure of public education and basically our culture,” said Dr. Marcelo Cavazossuperintendent of Arlington ISD, one of the first districts accepted into the partnership in 2017. “What we learned from Holdsworth about how to communicate transparently, gather staff feedback, and empower people in our district – it paid off.”

The Holdsworth Center
Driven by the belief that great leaders can push student achievement levels to new heights, the Holdsworth Center partners with Texas public school districts to help educators become leadership experts and then become stronger leaders within their own systems. Founded in 2017 by President HEB Charles Buttthe Austinnonprofit works with partner districts for five years and invests deeply in leaders at the district and campus level. For more information, visit

SOURCEThe Holdsworth Center

Janice G. Ball