FLVS…How Does Your Garden Grow?

Cultivating LeadersHave you ever stopped to think just how FLVS finds such incredible leaders to drive instruction and promote online education? These talented individuals do not always just appear. Many are educated through carefully developed professional opportunities.

In April 2017, a new professional development program was launched by the executive team to provide faculty and staff the chance to engage in hands-on leadership experiences.

The Aspiring Leaders Program is an intensive, 10-month cohort-based institute that will take state-certified educational leaders from within FLVS and provide in-depth exposure throughout the many departments across the organization. Participants will learn alongside mentors in the areas of human resources, finance, curriculum, and more!

FLVS Instructional Leader Gisela Delgado is a very strong advocate for empowering her team of more than 50 instructors in her schoolhouse.

Ms. Delgado shared her philosophy of how she inspires her instructors through leadership:

delgado“I believe a teacher can lead from any position they are in – the classroom, their department, their schoolhouse. It is my goal to help my teachers grow and continuously strive for improvement which will lead to student success. All my teachers have unique strengths and challenging them to share their ideas with colleagues, conduct presentations or go for that promotion are ways I help them develop their self-confidence in their own leadership.”

For those faculty or staff who wish to seek out leadership roles, a new initiative has been rolled out.

The Aspiring Leaders Program is led by Laura Downes, Director of Professional Development, and Ryan King, Director of Instruction at FLVS. Mr. King shared his vision for this emerging leadership Program:

Ryan King“The goal is to expose potential leaders in our organization to the types of tasks and experiences that our Instructional Leadership team faces each day and strengthen each candidate’s own leadership skills and knowledge. Candidates that successfully complete the program will have a clearer idea about the skills and processes our leaders utilize on a daily basis.”

As a director, Mr. King stands on the shoulders of all the leaders who have inspired him. He explained how these individuals have aided his professional growth. “Early on in my career as a teacher, I was fortunate enough to have strong leaders around me. Those leaders had several traits in common. All were great communicators, all had high expectations and held their employees accountable, and they all trusted me. I tried to take a little piece of each of them with me as I started to begin my career in leadership. Having a mentor when you’ve just started out is critical to one’s future success.”

He continued to explain what prompted FLVS to develop such a unique professional opportunity for its faculty and staff. “For years, teachers have asked for a program to be developed that would provide them with trainings and hands-on experiences that would help them grow into leaders.  The Aspiring Leaders Program will provide activities, trainings, a mentor, as well as interaction with several departments at FLVS.”

This obviously was an opportunity that many were interested in as nearly 100 staff and faculty members joined the information session! He shared one such program experience the cohort would encounter. “One of the interesting experiences that the aspiring leaders will go through is their observation of our teacher hiring process. The aspiring leaders will report to the VLC for a day to meet with external teacher candidates. Working alongside a few Instructional Leaders, the aspiring leaders will observe teacher interviews and learn what that process looks like from the hiring perspective.”

The cohort that will be selected from this group of FLVS employees will be small and tightly knit. The decision to keep the inaugural Aspiring Leaders to a group of 5-7 highly qualified professionals makes this program incredibly competitive. Mr. King explained the reasoning behind the selection process, “The applicants will be selected by a team of employees at FLVS. We have representatives on the committee from Human Resources, Professional Learning, and Instruction.”

The deadline for applicants took place earlier this month, on June 2 at 5 p.m. We wish all who applied the very best of luck in joining the Aspiring Leaders Program which will begin their professional development adventure in the fall of 2017. The FLVS Virtual Voice will keep you updated on the Aspiring Leaders program once the selection of candidates is announced by the executive team this summer.

Would you like to read more about our dynamic team of faculty and staff at FLVS?

Check out my FLVS Team Blog Series.


Jeanne Giardino-ZanegoodJeanne Giardino-Zanegood, FLVS Parenting Skills instructor, has a true passion for all things literacy. She enjoys the collaborative process in promoting reading in all aspects of virtual education. Having held a variety of positions with FLVS since 2006, she brings a global perspective to her current position. After 20 years in the field of education, she maintains a wealth of literacy knowledge and enthusiasm for student success.



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