Teaching a charter school to envision a bigger future

As Ross Montessori School in Carbondale, Colorado, was approaching its tenth anniversary in 2014, the leadership knew it was time to think about the next phase of the institution’s work. How to adapt to a changing world? What trends would shape the surrounding community? How to cultivate strong leaders to move the school forward?

Intensive research—and self-reflection‍

The charter school engaged Janet as an independent consultant and coach, and she began to work with the staff, board of directors, and leadership team in 2014. Together, they took a deep dive into the school’s mission and vision statements, which needed updating. They studied what was going on in education, social mobility, and growth in the county and state—they even considered water sustainability issues. They researched local, national, and international trends across an array of subjects. They diagnosed the organization and its leaders.  

“We were playing much smaller than we should, and she knew this,” says Sonya Hemmen, Head of School and CEO.

A fresh, vibrant vision for the future‍

The resulting new vision statement helped frame the school in bigger, bolder terms—to encourage faculty, parents, students, and leadership to all have a sense of purpose and ambition in the school’s future. This new vision statement proclaims values like Compassionate Love,  Dedication to Mastery, and Joy of Discovery.  It paints a vivid picture of programming enriched with the arts and community service, and talks passionately about the quality of graduates the school aims to cultivate.

Coaching and guidance to bring it to life‍

With a clearly defined vision and a strategic plan in place, Janet led the school into a second phase of work, where she helped the school understand what it would take to operationalize that plan. 

“This was when we learned what everyday work or ‘in the whirlwind’ means very specifically versus the act of producing long-term and sustainable change,” says Sonya Hemmen. 

“Jan teaches us that we must track and measure progress. She utilizes Jim Collins’ Good to Great to motivate us. She teaches us how to continually be a learning organization at the highest levels of leadership in the co-creator model.”

Five years into implementation of the plan, our Strategic Leadership Team is happy to see now that the goals set in 2015 have been achieved. 

Jan’s expert guidance of our trend research not only informed our Big Hairy Audacious Goals,  but taught us how to operationalize them---living that process now feels known and natural.  As we move into our second five-year phase, our Strategic Leadership Team is well-prepared to envision the next steps in our school’s growth.” – Sonya Hemmen

A lasting impact‍

“Jan will forever be the coach and champion of our success, and we are better for it now,” says Sony Hemmen. 

“Our school is a much better place due to her kind, calm, and expert leadership.”

Let’s get to work.

From executive coaching to strategic planning to action learning and rapid cycle improvement, Janet’s consulting expertise can help your leaders forge a bright future for their organization grounded in best practices, clearly defined goals, and led by an inspired team.