Portrait of an A+ Leader

Janie Saxton (above) is an A+ leadership academy graduate, and principal of O'Donnell Middle School in Alief ISD -- one of 17 local campuses currently involved in Houston A+'s Challenge Network.

She says: "Sharing best practices with principals from across the area -- coupled with the emphasis on excellent leadership and rigorous instruction -- has equipped me with the confidence and skills to lead my school, my staff, and our students to higher levels of success."

The path to post-secondary success begins in the principal's office.

Expectations have never been higher for Texas public schools. More rigorous state tests require high-quality classroom teaching that engages, motivates and challenges all students.

To realize their potential, schools must operate efficiently and purposefully, with all educators focused on one clear goal: high levels of learning for ALL students.

By far, the most strategic leverage point for school transformation is the leadership team. Yet 69 percent of principals and 80 percent of superintendents believe that traditional school leader training programs are out of touch with the current realities of the job, according to a recent survey by Public Agenda.  And beyond new principal training, few professional learning opportunities exist - especially for those instructional leaders (APs, deans and specialists) tasked with coaching teachers to make teaching & learning more effective.

Challenge Academies

Since 1999, Houston A+ Challenge leadership academies have strengthened the skills and knowledge of more than 300 school leaders in districts throughout the greater Houston region.

The primary objective of our Academies is to develop the capacity of school principals and leadership teams to advance student post-secondary success.

Through our one-year program, we offer individualized coaching, network support and tactical guidance to seated middle school principals and their leadership teams. 

Learn more about 2014-15 Academy offerings for instructional leaders, regional principals, new principals and more - and apply or nominate a leader today.

Reflections on A+

“Out of all the things that I have done to improve myself as a leader, this has been the most valuable.”

Paul Castro
Former Head of High Schools 
KIPP Houston


"Working with A+ has helped our school move from talking about higher expectations into action – through goal-setting, reflection, and a laser-like focus on strengthening teaching and learning.”

Earnest Washington
Drew Academy, Aldine ISD


“By investing in partnership with A+, our district is developing a list of  principal candidates who are well-trained, practiced, and ready to take over leadership of our schools. We have placed A+ academy graduates as principals, as well as other school leaders – and our district and students will benefit for years.”

Dr. Wanda Bamberg

Aldine ISD