Design Thinking

Part 2: Building a Culture of Trust Among School Leaders with Jerry Almendarez

For an extrovert like Superintendent Jerry Almendarez, the pandemic presented a challenge that many faced – how do you nurture and build relationships and trust in a remote environment?

Having just joined the district a few months prior to the pandemic, Jerry leveraged the power of technology to enhance relationships, expand networks, model vulnerability, and created an incredible culture of trust and innovation amongst his leadership team that had a ripple effect throughout the district.

Part 2: Building a Culture of Trust Among School Leaders with Jerry Almendarez

In Part 1 of this 3 part series with Jerry, he shared the power of being vulnerable as a leader, both in person and online. Also, in Part 2 we hear from Jerry about the strategies he used to build a culture of trust amongst his leadership team of over 180 people.

So, in this episode Jerry shares that a transformational practice was his Friday leadership team meetings. I’ll save the details for the episode. I was curious however, the influence that these meetings had on the team. In this episode you’ll also hear from Kerri Braun and Nata Shin.

Kerri is currently a principal at a PK-5 Elementary School in Sana Ana Unified. Prior she has served in the roles of Assistant Principal, Teacher on Special Assignment, Instructional Coach, and Classroom Teacher. Kerri holds her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California. Additionally she is National Board Certified Teacher in Reading/Language Arts. Kerri has a passion for the implementation of STEAM instruction and the meaningful integration into student’s academic day. She is commits to engage with our youngest learners to prepare them for life in a diverse society.

Nata Shin is a principal at Century High School. She aspires to create, support and nurture the environment that sparks the interest of the students, inspires them to build dreams and develop scholarly traits and skills that will help them rise to their fullest potential. She’s inspired by Sir Ken Robinson who says, “You cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do is, like a farmer, create the conditions under which it will begin to flourish.”

In This Episode:

  • How Jerry designed his weekly Friday meetings with his leadership team of over 180 people
  • How creating a culture of vulnerability influenced the conversations that were taking place at the different sites across the district
  • The power of a reverse mentor
  • We hear from two principals about how it felt to have a superintendent who led with vulnerability and how that shaped the conversations they had as leaders at their own sites
  • Significant inflection points, both personal and professional, that have shaped Jerry into he leader he is today

Connect with Jerry, Nata, and Kerri

This leadership team is one of my favorites to follow. You can connect with Jerry, Nata, and Kerri on Twitter and their handles are linked.

I’m Sabba.

I believe that the future should be designed. Not left to chance.

Over the past decade, using design thinking practices I've helped schools and businesses create a culture of innovation where everyone is empowered to move from idea to impact, to address complex challenges and discover opportunities. 

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