Confluence Academies’ Leaders Chosen To Participate In Unique Professional Development Program

Six Confluence Academies’ leaders are participating in a unique cohort of professional development this year entitled Confluence RISE. The training is led by Dr. Ian Buchanan and allows participants to become better leaders by building capacity in the areas of both adaptive and technical change. Sessions focus on intrapersonal and interpersonal leadership along with instructional and organizational leadership. Dr. Buchanan hopes participants “build their EQ muscle. Specifically….they have a better sense of self-awareness, being crystal clear about strengths, superpowers, and self-saboteurs.”


Katherine Switzer, Science teacher at GCAA, has loved using what she’s learned in the classroom, including how to create a brave space instead of a safe space. “I want my students to feel like they can share fears, anxieties, and discomforts just like I want them to be able to share celebrations. It was an awesome experience being able to put that into action and talk to students about what that brave space needs to look like in our room, school building, and community.” 


Switzer says the training has completely changed how she listens to others. “The quote that has been consistently playing in my head is ‘Some people listen to respond and not listen to understand.’ This has helped me to slow down and process what others say to me which in turn helps me monitor my movement up/down the ladder of inference. I think to myself ‘What did I hear? How did that make me feel? What did my body say or do in response?’ Then, I am able to paraphrase what the other said so I can ensure my understanding is correct.”



Participants include: 

Jordan Cook - GCAA, 8th grade Math Teacher

Earl Neal - Old North Academy, Instructional Coach

Sarah Urch - South City Academy, 3rd Grade Teacher (Lead)

Elizabeth Watson - Old North Academy, 4th Grade Teacher

Jessica Sparks - South City Academy, 6th Grade Math Teacher (Lead)

Katherine Switzer - GCAA, 11th & 12th grade Biology & Science Electives Teacher


The cohort will participate in professional learning experiences that span two years.