Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Valda Valbrun, CEO of The Valbrun Consulting Group. This group was started by a teacher and is committed to leadership and equity is shaped by their own experiences as students, teachers, and leaders. Their goal is to build the capacity of leaders to address inequities and create organizational cultures that honor diversity.
What services does The Valbrun Consulting Group offer?
We offer strategic planning and technical support to K-12 school districts. We help districts develop their strategic plans as well as help them to manage and execute the strategies. As a former school principal and district leader myself, I recognize that schools and districts sometimes benefit from a fresh set of eyes to help them audit existing initiatives and review data to determine the return of investments. We also help build the capacity of teachers and leaders to lead efforts for school improvement and we are especially committed to ensuring that they do so in a way that honors diversity and commits to creating equitable environments in schools.
Tell us about your leadership development training.
We provide professional development and coaching that equips leaders with skills, tools and the ability to advance improvement efforts. We work with aspiring and new leaders to support them as they advance towards the principal role, and work to support experienced school leaders, principal supervisors and district personnel as they demonstrate commitment to personal and professional growth, including in their development of cultural proficiency and the management of diverse teams.
We work to determine client’s specific needs and use a co-design model to develop the appropriate supports. We believe that developing leaders is part of a journey and that leadership can often feel like a lonely job, so we strive to support leaders by being a thought partner, and helping them to advance the mission and vision of the organization.
What are some strategies to improve workplace culture and teamwork?
I think workplace culture is essential to having high performing teams! If nothing else, I see that as the most important part of any leader’s job – to create and model the type of culture where employees feel valued and respected and as if they are a part of something, that without them, couldn’t be. That requires a real commitment to people and a willingness to lead with both your head and your heart. It requires strong emotional intellect and the ability to make genuine connections with others. As they say, people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses- so it’s important to set the tone from the top, that demonstrates a solid culture of respect and team-building.
Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a system change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion. She has worked with national school districts on Leadership Development and Executive Coaching and provides coaching and training to aspiring, newly appointed and experienced principals and has worked as a school turn-around partner.
She started her career over 25 years ago as a teacher in the Broward County (FL) schools before becoming a Professional Developer and secondary school administrator in Montgomery County (MD). She has a strong background in school administration, having served as a middle school principal. She is committed to professional development and closing achievement gaps and never waivers in her commitment to instructional and leadership improvement, both on the macro-level of a school system and on the micro-level of an individual classroom teacher and leader. She has taken these experiences and founded The Valbrun Consulting Group where she serves as the CEO.
Ms. Valbrun works directly with school and district leaders to advance improvement initiatives and understands that leaders must be lifelong learners and that better solutions come from groups with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Her experience includes work in rural, suburban, and large, urban districts and she currently provides leadership training, coaching and consulting across the country in addition to providing training specifically to build Culturally Proficient Leaders.
Ms. Valbrun received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Master of Science degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University. She also completed post-graduate certification in School Administration and Leadership at Johns Hopkins University. She is a trained executive coach and Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)© Qualified Administrator. In addition to her school and district level leadership roles, Ms. Valbrun has also served as the Director of Professional Learning at ASCD and as the Executive Director of Organizational Development for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, where she currently resides.