In 15 years, more than 400 teachers and principals have completed the PEF-HCDE Leadership Fellows program. A program that organizers say sets teachers up for a bright future in education.
"You have to be able to motivate and lead people, and this is a set of skills and opportunities. Every class has had an opportunity to go to an outstanding school and see how other people lead great schools. It is different opportunities to see what works in leadership," said PEF President Dan Challener.
Those that have gone through the program say leadership in the classroom starts with developing leadership with their peers.
"You have to understand what your skill set is so that you can maximize and be the most effective leader that you can be. It also helped me to talk to other colleagues and get to know them better, so I can bounce things off them and get a lot of good ideas to help me grow as a leader," added Chris Earl, principal at Dalewood Middle School.
Young teachers like Lindsey Hagan, who are just entering the program, believe it makes a difference in attitudes and stokes a passion for education.
"They stand out. They are doing amazing things and they just have a passion that some of the other teachers I work with don't quite have. They really have a spark, so I wanted to see what they had in that experience to help them grow."
Over half of the principals employed in Hamilton County have gone through the Leadership Fellows program, proving it is a model that will work for years to come.
"Students benefit by having teachers and principals and assistant principals, better skilled at leadership. Business has done this forever, that you've got to have strong leaders to be successful," Challener said.