About the Tointon Institute

The Tointon Institute for Educational Change has been providing high quality leadership training to K-12 administrators throughout the state of Colorado since 1995.  A gift to UNC from Bob and Betty Tointon of Greeley, Colorado helps to fund this enormously successful program which has as a goal to increase the effectiveness of school leaders so that overall student achievement will be increased.  Since its inception, the Tointon Institute has worked with more than 670 principals in Colorado and 74 school teams with a total of 543 teacher leaders.

Participants in this program are given an opportunity to learn from many of the state’s premier practicing educators and staff developers and to network with colleagues from districts across Colorado. The program is comprised of residential academies that focus on leadership skill building with an emphasis on instructional leadership that improves student achievement..  For the Principal academy, there is also an individualized follow-up program.  The program director and staff also provide ongoing support for academy participants in the years following their attendance.

All academies are residential, four days for the School and Teacher Leadership Academy and five days for the Principal Leadership Academy, and are held in resort locations in Colorado allowing the members in attendance to concentrate on the curriculum rather than daily routine.  Sessions are intense and days are full, but the participants unanimously approve of the rigorous schedule.

Presentations are developed for each Academy based on the needs of the group as well as research-based identified needs of school leaders.  In the past, presentations have included such topics as vision setting, identifying and understanding personal leadership styles and the consequent effect on staff cooperation and support, instructional leadership in specific content areas,  shared leadership, standards and assessment of student progress,  using data to target instructional needs, methods of working with constituencies with different value systems, difficult conversations, systemic change, organizational politics and its impact on leadership, effective staff development and evaluation of staff development programs, data driven school improvement, closing the achievement gap,  planning for and evaluation of effective professional development,  and other highly relevant topics.

The focus on practical application of skills being learned is a major part of each academy.  To this end, participants are given time to engage in systematic reflection about themselves, their teams (for the team academies) and their schools.  Participants in the Principal Leadership Academy complete a personal action plan based on feedback they receive from their staffs on a 360 degree evaluation of their leadership strengths completed prior to their academy with results being presented and discussed at the academy.  Individuals are encouraged to make connections between what is learned in the daily sessions of the academy with their needs that they identify in their action plan.  These plans direct the work with the Director and/or facilitator/coach following each academy.  Participants in the School and Teacher Leadership Academy complete a team action plan based on what their individual schools needs are and  are required to incorporate information and skills gained at the academy.  This action plan includes planning for how to share information gleaned at the academy with the rest of the staff at their schools upon their return.  These action plans guide the work of the school leadership team for the year following their attendance at the academy.

The Tointon Institute seeks to create effective schools through effective leadership at all levels.  Our program gives school leaders additional leadership skills to function successfully in a rapidly changing school environment while also giving them the opportunity to work with other colleagues and to gain from their experiences and expertise.  All Tointon academies provide participants with an academic and stimulating learning environment where they can reflect on their current contexts, move leadership decisions to a more conscious level and focus actions and strategies on critical issues related to school effectiveness and ultimately, to increased student achievement.  Finally, the Tointon Institute for Educational Change develops a formal and informal state networking apparatus for school leaders that has and continues to foster a sustained exchange of ideas as well as a forum in which to explore the dilemmas facing today’s school leaders.