Launch Spotlight: Leading Schools Forward

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Leading Schools Forward 

Helping Schools Live their Mission

Leading Schools Forward (LSF) represents a continuation of founder Richard Sinclair's mission in life as an educator: to realize the best of what's possible, not just what's common. He credits an inspiring teacher early in his life for inspiring him and leading him to where he is today. Sinclair began as teacher and, after experiencing significant success as an educator and principal for a number of years, became a student again. His goal was to practice higher level leadership and organizational practices not common in schools, but common in the best and highest performing places to work in the world. "I knew the 'great place to work' model could make a significant difference in the lives of educators and in return, their students and parents" Sinclair says.  

An estimated 50% of new public school teachers are gone from the profession by their fifth year of teaching and principals turn over on average every 3-5 years, both primarily as a result of working conditions. The high rates of turnover contribute significantly to mediocre performance rates overall and cost (hiring, processing, and training) districts hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year depending on the their size. In partnership with pioneer People Ink and their culture leadership model that has evolved over twenty-five years, LSF is helping schools to create the ideal workplace. By providing the system, processes, and coaching schools can create a sustainable environment where team members are inspired by a desire for significance and encouraged to act as leaders regardless of role, consistent in practice with the highest performing and greatest places to work in the world. Leading Schools Forward helps districts and schools to better align culture (behavior) with strategy. To shift from a focus on best practices and required behaviors to best or "inspired" behaviors, decreasing rates of turnover and increasing rates of engagement - giving students more engaged teacher and learning environment. 

LSF is the only group currently practicing the model in schools. Employee engagement is a property of the relationship between an organization and its employees. An "engaged employee" is defined as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization's reputation and interests. 

This is Sinclair's third year of practicing the ideal workplace model, first as a principal and then as a consultant with the partner-pilot/model school here in Orange County. The school is currently starting the final stage of the 6-8 month implementation process, also known as the Performance Management Phase. The working goal is to begin partnering/contracting with NC school districts next year, offering districts a pilot school opportunity or possibly, a whole district implementation.

Sinclair credits Launch Chapel Hill in identifying and forging local connections, like retired UNC Education VP Dr. Charles Coble and Carrboro's Public Impact, a national school improvement group has been good. Now that Sinclair is wrapping up the R/D stage, he is excited to focus more fully on the launch process and hopefully... find many more local connections.

To learn more or connect with founder Richard Sinclair, visit 

 Launch Chapel Hill is a start-up accelerator located in Downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Twice a year they accept a new class of high-potential entrepreneurs who are committed to building their early-stage, high-potential businesses into self-sustaining enterprises. Launch provides the support, tools and knowledge needed to decrease risks, reduce go-to-market time, and accelerate the growth of start-up ventures.