By nature, I am relatively reserved and show very little emotion. I prefer high-fives and handshakes to close physical embraces. After touring HEB Central Market and learning about the inside workings of the company during a Holdsworth Conference, I knew my experience was priceless. I was so overcome with excitement and hope that I hugged the General Manager without hesitation. My campus leadership team saw my excitement and knew the experience must have been impactful if I gave someone a hug. Later that day, I was asked what happened to trigger my response. I struggled to put it into words until now.
The General Manager was dynamic and passionate about her job. By design, the store was aesthetically pleasing, and the partners (Central Market employees) were friendly and knowledgeable. The food we sampled was plentiful and delicious. However, these weren’t the things that excited me most. It went deeper. What I heard, saw, and learned that brought me joy was the dedication by leadership to invest in people.
As I reflect, I see the parallel from the business world to education. Education is the greatest job in the world, and in Klein we do an excellent job investing in our students. To create a culture that invests in people, who comes to mind first are those on the front lines of education in our country: Teachers. Millions of dollars go to support our students’ academic, social and emotional success. We design positions, courses, interventions, enrichment and extracurricular opportunities, and community connections as an investment in our students. Our mission is that “every student enters with a promise and exists with a purpose.” Our purpose is to invest in our students. As a campus leader, my purpose is to invest in teachers so they, in return, can invest in our students. Educators burn the midnight oil for our students doing what can seem like a thankless job. When we prioritize our resources to invest in those teaching our students, we see a greater impact.
To see true growth in our students and support of our community, it must begin with truly investing in our teachers and using our resources to provide what they need most.
Invest in Professional Development:
Compensation is key to investing in our teachers. Additionally, once we recruit strong educators, it is our responsibility as leaders to retain them and foster growth. Providing individualized professional development goes beyond best practices and innovative strategies. Educators are faced with preparing our students to compete in a vastly changing world. Therefore, our professional development should reach beyond educational practices and into the global workforce. The GM at Central Market believes in order to meet the changing needs of the customers and community, the store must stay current and fresh. Similar to musicians like JLo and Cher, they continue to reinvent themselves and adjust their sounds to stay relevant and popular with their fanbase. Therefore, resources are dedicated to sending partners throughout the world to bring back new ideas and extend learning to earn specialized certifications. What would this look like in education?
Invest in Professional Learning Communities:
Professional Learning Communities are also a powerful component to retaining teachers, as it creates a culture of continuous learning. Professional Learning Communities provide the ability to network, share expertise, and collaboratively work together to improve teaching skills and students’ academic performance. Therefore, it is imperative for the success of our students that resources are provided, such as dedicated time and structure to support the fidelity of professional learning communities. Central Market starts the day with daily huddles to collaborate and align partners for the day. Time is carved out for huddle leaders to collaborate on a weekly basis. The GM dedicates the majority of the day on the floor speaking with partners and customers instead of in the office. Taking time to communicate face to face builds rapport and shows a true investment in people. What would this look like in education?
Invest in Leadership Development:
Another way to invest in our teachers is to provide clear leadership pathways, development, and opportunities. Providing resources to identify, grow, and nurture leadership is an important element for teacher retention and a powerful motivator. Central Market values leadership development; and therefore, created positions dedicated to the recruitment and development of Central Market partners. Even if the partner does not have aspirations to move up within the company, the partner still receives leadership support and development. The investment in growth and development naturally leads to a culture of continuous improvement. What would this look like in education?
Invest in Wellness:
Lastly, providing resources to support teacher wellness is a great investment in educators’ physical and social/emotional well being. Education is one of the most rewarding jobs, but it is also one of the most taxing both physically and emotionally. Stress and demand within education without a wellness support system is often detrimental to retention rates. Central Market celebrates its partners, has socials, encourages and offers incentives to participate in wellness activities, and participates in community service regularly to support partners’ welfare.
So why did I hug a complete stranger? It’s simple. It is evident that Central Market invests in its partners, who in return, invest in their customers and community. Local community members and stakeholders take note when we put our resources toward what matters the most: People. I am hopeful and thankful to the Holdsworth Center, HEB, and Central Market for igniting my fire to find new ways to put our resources towards what matters most.
Best Public Schools in Texas
Klein ISD has an established 91-year history of excellence and innovation in education with unique pathways for EVERY student in our care to ensure learners are college, career, military, and life ready. With recognition for STEM, athletics, fine arts, and academics from highly-esteemed organizations, it is clear that Our Shared Vision of every student entering with a promise and exiting with a purpose is a reality for EVERY student who walks through our doors. https://kleinisd.net/results
About Klein ISD
Klein ISD is a school district in Klein, Texas located in northwestern Harris County. The district spans approximately 87.5 square miles and serves more than 54,000 students in one early childhood and pre-kindergarten center, one high school program of choice, 31 elementary schools, 10 intermediate campuses, and 5 high schools.
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There are so many incredible individuals in the Klein Family making a lasting impact on our community. We want to recognize and celebrate our leaders and learners that are cultivating talent, building relationships, reimagining learning and making Promise2Purpose a reality daily. Share your story here: https://kleinisd.net/story