A bearded Black man wearing in a grey sweater fist bumps a white man in a grey sweater vest inside a classroom. A bearded Black man wearing in a grey sweater fist bumps a white man in a grey sweater vest inside a classroom.
Curriculum, Principals

CEF partners with WCCUSD to expand leadership development for all principals, cohort of district leaders

With foundation grant, Chief Academic Officer extends leadership support to all 54 school leaders and 10 in central office

The Chamberlin Education Foundation has expanded its partnership with West Contra Costa Unified School District by committing $300,000 to fund district-wide professional development for principals and a cohort of central office leaders.

Under the plan, New Leaders will provide foundational “Leading and Learning” workshops to all principals in WCCUSD, as well as additional leadership support and coaching to a group of 12 principals selected by the Chief Academic Officer and her team. In addition, the plan expands professional learning opportunities to 10 central office leaders.  

“New Leaders has a proven track record of developing high-quality leaders,” said LaResha Martin, the district’s Chief Academic Officer. 

“Like WCC leaders, New Leaders believes that students can achieve at exceptional rates,” Martin said. 

“They believe in shaping leaders to focus on equitable systems, address disproportionality, and advocate for students and families who are most underserved,” she said.

A black woman in a red top speaks to a group of four school principals in the background against a white wall with a blue panel.
Above: New Leaders’ Courtney Torres leads principals through a four corners exercise about racial equity. Top: Coronado Elementary principal Keilan Hunter greets Jay Eirvin, principal at Betty Reid Soskin Middle School, during a professional development session hosted by New Leaders. Images © Chamberlin Education Foundation

The grant to New Leaders increases CEF’s directed support for WCCUSD to roughly $1.7 million in 2022-23. Through its Instructional Leadership Community of Practice, the foundation has contributed over $4.5 million to support WCCUSD principals and instructional leaders since 2018.

The new grant aligns with the foundation’s belief that effective, equity-focused leadership is critical to strengthening academic outcomes, school culture, and students’ long-term success. 

“New Leaders is a best-in-class leadership development provider,” said Caroline Damon, Vice President of Academics at CEF. 

“They combine an unapologetic focus on equity, a high academic bar that embraces instructional leadership, and personalized coaching to strengthen leaders’ adaptive and team management skills,” Damon said.

A Black woman with braids speaks into a microphone to address a group of seated adults who are facing a projection screen bearing a chart with the title Managing Complex Change.
A smiling woman with curly brown hair wearing a white and red striped top walks past two seated school principals.
Keisha Warner leads a conversation with WCCUSD principals during a New Leaders professional development session. Principals engage in learning activities facilitated by New Leaders. Photos © Chamberlin Education Foundation.

First-year principal Jay Eirvin hopes the additional leadership support and coaching will help him improve as Betty Reid Soskin Middle School’s instructional leader. 

“I am looking forward to receiving feedback, and collaborating with other site leaders around creating and sustaining a school vision, using data to make instructional decisions, and monitoring curriculum and instruction,” Eirvin said. 

“I am hoping to see how seasoned principals are completing this at their sites,” he added. 

In past years, the foundation provided funding for New Leaders to support principal training for emerging WCCUSD school leaders. Nystrom principal Jamie Allardice earned his administrative credential from New Leaders in 2015.

“The real strength of the New Leaders program was showing you how to see the change management process,” Allardice said. 

“In my first year (as a principal), there was so much change that was needed, and that we wanted. To figure out how to navigate that I think was really helpful,” Allardice said. 

CEF partners with WCCUSD to expand leadership development for all principals, cohort of district leaders 1
Nystrom Elementary principal Jamie Allardice trained to become a principal in New Leaders programs. Allardice credits New Leaders with shaping his vision for change management as a school leader.

During his tenure, Allardice has worked to raise the academic bar at Nystrom. He adopted a new, more rigorous English Language Arts curriculum aligned with the Common Core standards, and insisted that his team use evidence-based techniques to deliver effective reading and math instruction. 

For Allardice and the Nystrom team, improvements to teaching and learning are crucial to increasing student equity and overall academic success. 

“We need to do better for our students, and particularly our most at-risk students,” Allardice said. “All of our work comes down to increasing student achievement.”

A smiling Black woman with braids passes a microphone to a Latina woman wearing a black jacket over a blue dress.
New Leaders' Director of Program Keisha Warner invites a comment from Montalvin principal Katherine Acosta-Verprauskus during a New Leaders professional development session. Photo © Chamberlin Education Foundation.

In addition to Allardice, six currently active WCCUSD principals received their administrative credentials through the New Leaders’ Aspiring Principals Program with foundation support.

For Chief Academic Officer LaResha Martin, the need to build strong leaders at schools and in the central office connects directly to her most important goals.

“When I arrived in West Contra Costa, there were a number of leaders who were seeking partnership outside of the district to receive professional development,” she said.

“This partnership with New Leaders coming into WCCUSD will provide all leaders with professional development that is relevant, tangible, empowering, and stimulating,” Martin said. 

Editor’s note: The total foundation support amounts include funding from the Chamberlin Education Foundation and the Chamberlin Family Foundation.

About the Chamberlin Education Foundation

The Chamberlin Education Foundation supports initiatives that advance education equity and academic excellence in West Contra Costa public schools. CEF’s grants and programs support effective education leadership, high-quality curriculum and instruction, restorative student interventions, and help create and sustain a student-centered public education ecosystem.

Click here for more about our team, our vision, and our foundation’s guiding principles.