By Ron Leuty | San Francisco Business Times
The real world of the classroom will meet the real world of the cubicle in a program tailored by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte and leading off with San Francisco Unified School District principals and administrators.
The program, unveiled Thursday morning and funded in part by a
private grant to the district, will send 60 SFUSD principals, assistant
principals and administrators to Deloitte University near Dallas for
three days of training June 6-8.
Along with Salesforce.com Foundation's $2.7 million gift last year to the San Francisco school district,
the Deloitte program is one of a handful of projects coming out of
years of spade work by SFUSD to get the San Francisco business community
— especially tech companies— to work with the district.
But SFUSD Superintendent Richard Carranza said programs like Deloitte's go beyond "bake sales or the donation of 50 computers" to forge a strategic partnership.
"Deloitte came in and said, 'This is what we do. How can that work with what the district needs?'" Carranza said.
Deloitte has invested about $1 million developing the "Courageous
Principals" program and paying for trainers, the facility and program
materials, said Teresa Briggs, the firm's West region and San Francisco managing partner.
"People have asked, 'Why principals?'" Briggs said. "With principals
you get a multiplier effect" that creates "ripples of leadership" that
extend to teachers and staff, students and the community at large, she
The contingent contingent from 57,000-student SFUSD is the first to
go through the program, which works with the New Teacher Center, a
national nonprofit organization based in Santa Cruz. Houston, Chicago
and New York will send principals later in June and July.
Deloitte piloted the program last summer with 50 principals from four states.
As the program connects school leaders with top officials from the
business, public sector and not-for-profit arenas, Deloitte’s curriculum
focuses on understanding personality types, how to communicate
effectively and how to have difficult conversations. It is the same
curriculum used internally by Deloitte.
"I like the name, 'Courageous Principals,'" Carranza said, "because
principals have to have courageous conversations all day long."
The program ultimately could help "the Mesopotamia of innovation"
called San Francisco develop a future wave of entrepreneurs, Carranza
For Edward Robeson Taylor Elementary Principal Marlene Callejas, the program is an opportunity to meet people who think differently about “problems of practice and management style.”
“I want to find out from managers what they’re looking for,” said
Callejas, adding that schools already have adopted business-like
practices where teachers are more like facilitators for conversations in
“I want to see if I’m on the right path,” she said.
Callejas is in her third year leading E.R. Taylor, in the city’s
Portola neighborhood. The school has 720 students from pre-kindergarten
through fifth grade, 36 teachers and 50 other staff members. Its morning
announcements in the school’s courtyard are done in English, Spanish
The school bought Apple iPads this year to connect students to
technology and started a breakfast program because staff found that
several students were arriving for the 9 a.m. start of the school day
without having eaten.
“I have friends in corporations who can’t believe what we do,” said Callejas, who is in her 32 nd
year with SFUSD. “They have their day planners and they check the
boxes, but if I get to do three things that I planned at the beginning
of the day, that’s something.”