Magazine article Techniques

Francis Tuttle Leadership Program Highlights History

Magazine article Techniques

Francis Tuttle Leadership Program Highlights History

Article excerpt

WITH NEW AND YOUNGER EMPLOYEES JOINING THE RANKS AT FRANCIS TUTTLE TECHNOLOGY Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, leaders pondered how to keep the history of their district and that of the Oklahoma career tech system alive. The yearlong new employee orientation series includes a brief history of the district, but organizers felt it was necessary for employees to gain deeper insight to enable passing on that knowledge, much like tribal storytelling of centuries past.

Leadership Francis Tuttle (Leadership FT) was created with a mission to challenge, develop and educate new employees by providing professional development and personal growth opportunities. Embedding the history of early leaders and their legacies--with emphasis on the impact of career and technical education (CTE) throughout Oklahoma, across the country and around the world--brings an understanding of the economic development aspects CTE training creates.

Though the program is updated each school year, a sample monthly schedule includes the following components.

September: Getting to Know Each Other

Applications are distributed to supervisors prior to the start of the school year to identify potential class members and submit their names for consideration. After class members are selected, the program begins in September. Members get acquainted with an icebreaker as they learn the details about their year ahead. Building strong bonds and trust are the keys to the first session, and it traditionally endears members to one another for the year, but more importantly, throughout their careers.

Leadership FT Chair Judie Harris explains, "The first meeting can be emotional, but [it] always brings the class closer together in a nurturing environment. We emphasize that we will always be in a safe zone together, and members often talk about family and values as they describe personal goals. Building camaraderie is part of the process."

October: Learning Who They Are

The October meeting is a lesson in becoming an effective leader, instilling the practice of honest and ethical behavior, and learning the importance of leaders holding themselves to higher standards. Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator* (MBTI')' assessment, members truly discover who they are, what drives them, their aspirations and expectations, and best practices for interacting with other personality types. Myers-Briggs types are then incorporated throughout the year in various ways.

Denton Blevins, instructional director at Francis Tuttle and a Myers-Briggs certified trainer, has observed how learning about the respective types helps leaders discern how individuals interact with others, particularly when they serve in teams. "Myers-Briggs helps people to better understand themselves--their strengths and weaknesses regarding their communication style. This helps them to consider aspects of diversity in personality types as it applies to the classroom and among co-workers," he said.

November: Discovering the OK CareerTech System

In November, members gain awareness of our district and the broader Oklahoma career tech system by visiting one of the other 28 consolidated technology center districts across the state, each of which has both similarities and differences from our own. The most visited over the years is Central Technology Center in Drumright, Oklahoma. Central Tech has 17 feeder school districts in comparison to Francis Tuttle's six. The importance of the visit is for class members to see different leadership styles applied in similar settings. A highlight at Central Tech is its truck driver training program. After a quick briefing, members have the choice of whether to actually drive or simply to observe during a ride-along: very few remain as observers!

December: Teamwork

Another popular session is the December team-building project, which takes place in one of the skills kitchens of the district's School of Culinary Arts. …

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