Developing a Culture of Excellence: Center for Leadership at FIU

In a unique partnership with Miami Northwestern Senior High School, and with the support of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the FIU Center for Leadership is committed to inspiring, motivating, and encouraging Miami Northwestern’s non-instructional staff to connect and develop relationships with their students that will contribute to the student’s overall development and future success.


A part of the M-DCPS’ Education Transformation Office (ETO) and a traditionally underachieving school, Miami Northwestern has made important achievements over the past decade. In 2013, the school received its first ever ‘A’ designation by the Florida Department of Education. To continue this trajectory, now more than ever it is important to build service leadership knowledge and skills in Miami Northwestern’s non-instructional staff, which, in turn, has a ripple effect that lifts the educational capacity and attainment of the citizens of our community. With the purpose of expanding the net of support for student success, the Center for Leadership has designed a series of “Service and Leadership” workshops for Miami Northwestern’s non-instructional staff.


Each year, more than 1,700 students walk through the doors of Miami Northwestern to finish their public school education and create a future for themselves and for their families. The non-instructional staff’s role in helping them achieve that dream is critically important. By developing service and leadership skills across the entire school, Miami Northwestern will be able to complement their educational achievements, increase parent and community involvement and provide excellence in service to students, parents, alumni, colleagues, and to the community.


The Accelerator Grant would be used to fund the Service and Leadership workshops during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Who are you?

The FIU Center for Leadership is a nationally recognized center for leadership research, development, and training. The Center’s leadership development programs were recently ranked #1 among educational institutions in the USA.

How does this project impact the issue you selected?

Traditionally underachieving ETO schools struggle with issues of morale, student and teacher retention and graduation rates. There are 108 schools in the district identified by ETO as underachieving schools. Students in these schools often lack appropriate role models and sometimes only find structure and positive interaction is from school staff. Given the socio-economic challenges of students at ETO schools, the school environment plays a significant role in students’ overall development.

What data points from The Our Miami Report does your project address?

Education Goal 1: M-D children have access to a quality education: Helping to maintain designated ranking of A for Miami Northwestern. Improved school quality helps future workforce needs and attracts residents and businesses to our community.
Education Goal 2: M-D students thrive academically. Promoting positive school/work environment provides stability and incentive for retention and graduation.

Please give examples of your project's success.

These workshops were created to meet Northwestern's pressing need for broader foundation for maintaining school performance.This year, 2 workshops have been held with more than 50 participants and 190 contact hours. The success has already been acknowledged by school leadership, "I have received great feedback" and "I truly believe you and your team was sent from heaven. I was wondering for years what can be done with staff to meet our service expectations. Finally my dream has come true!"

Organization Name (or individuals name) FIU Center for Leadership


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