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Senior officer named for innovative Fort Worth ISD, Texas Wesleyan partnership

05.09.2019 | By: Texas Wesleyan University
University headshot of new Leadership Academy network Senior Officer Priscila Dilley

FORT WORTH, Texas (May 9, 2019) – Texas Wesleyan University is proud to announce the appointment of the top administrator for the Leadership Academy Network, a first-of-its-kind partnership with Fort Worth ISD to maintain and grow academic successes at five once-struggling PK-8 campuses.

Priscila Dilley, formerly with Fort Worth ISD’s Office of Innovation and Transformation, will serve as senior officer for the Leadership Academy Network, established by Texas Wesleyan and the school district in early 2019. The Network includes the Leadership Academies at Como Elementary, John T. White Elementary, Maude I. Logan Elementary, Mitchell Boulevard Elementary and Forest Oak Middle School. Under the partnership, Dilley will lead the Texas Wesleyan School of Education’s operation and management of the schools in alignment with the Leadership Academy model implemented by Fort Worth ISD in 2017.

The Leadership Academy approach—which features highly effective educators, a commitment to instructional excellence, an extended school day and programs to strengthen student character and behavior, among other benefits—is linked to improved outcomes at all participating schools. The Leadership Academy Network will leverage the institutional resources of Texas Wesleyan’s School of Education to build upon initial positive results and create a sustained environment of high achievement. The autonomy of the Leadership Academy Network means teachers and campus leaders will be encouraged to identify needs and propose innovative solutions on the campus level.

Dilley, a graduate of Dallas Baptist University, joined Fort Worth ISD in 2004 as a campus administrator, leading schools to significant improvements. In 2013, the District brought Dilley to the central office to oversee multiple campuses. As Fort Worth ISD’s executive director of innovation and transformation, she launched and led the Leadership Academy initiative. In the first year of operations, every Leadership Academy came off the Texas Education Agency’s “Improvement Required” list and demonstrated levels of student growth that placed them among the top half of campuses across the state.

“Priscila is a gifted leader with extensive experience in designing, developing and implementing school turnaround strategies,” said Carlos Martinez, dean of the Texas Wesleyan School of Education. “Her vision resulted in tangible, campus-wide gains at these five schools and has helped change the futures of countless young students. She is unquestionably the right person to lead the next phase of efforts for the Leadership Academies.” 

Under Dilley’s direction, Texas Wesleyan’s School of Education will provide independent management, data-driven academic oversight, professional development and school counseling resources, based on expertise in instruction, curriculum, administration and student development. Texas Wesleyan is in the process of assembling Dilley’s specialized staff and creating a Steering Committee made up of veteran educators and administrators to help guide Leadership Academy work.

“Texas Wesleyan has a long history of serving the community and partnering with Fort Worth ISD to create new opportunities for students,” said Dilley. “With a mission of meeting the challenges of teaching and learning in the 21st century, Texas Wesleyan’s School of Education is the ideal partner to put the Leadership Academies on track for even greater success. I am honored to continue my work with these schools as a member of the Texas Wesleyan team.”

The campuses will remain Fort Worth ISD schools staffed by Fort Worth ISD employees, and students are still Fort Worth ISD students.

“Priscila has done a remarkable job for us, taking a ground-breaking educational concept and bringing it to reality across five campuses—with outstanding results,” said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner. “We are confident that with Priscila as senior officer, the Leadership Academy Network will thrive and effectively prepare students for college, career and community leadership.”

About the Leadership Academy Network

Established in February 2019, the Leadership Academy Network is a first-of-its-kind partnership between Fort Worth ISD and Texas Wesleyan University, designed to sustain rising academic performance of the District’s five Leadership Academies. Piloted by the District in 2017, the Leadership Academy model is based on instructional excellence, extended learning, social-emotional support, highly qualified principals and teachers and parent and community partnerships. First-year results showed improvement at all schools. Texas Wesleyan was selected by Fort Worth ISD to sustain and support this model by managing the schools in accordance with a performance contract mutually negotiated by the partners. Dedicated to education and the community, Texas Wesleyan is a long-time partner to Fort Worth ISD. The University’s School of Education offers innovative and exceptional experience in classroom instruction, curriculum and administration. The partnership is made possible by 2017 Texas Senate Bill 1882, which enables districts to expand the diversity of school options, bring in targeted expertise and empower school leaders and partners with greater autonomy. Network schools are the Leadership Academies at Como Elementary, John T. White Elementary, Maude I. Logan Elementary, Mitchell Boulevard Elementary and Forest Oak Middle School.

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