Training the Trainer: One Educator’s Professional Development Journey at ALA

Since joining African Leadership Academy six years ago, Jake Galloway has held a variety of roles: Writing & Rhetoric faculty, Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty, and Year 1 Head. These days, Jake combines his teaching and advising responsibilities with a rigorous professional development program.

Training the Trainer: One Educator’s Professional Development Journey at ALA

Taking advantage of professional development opportunities available to faculty and staff at ALA, Jake is currently enrolled in a program at Columbia University, USA that will earn him a Master’s Degree in Private School Leadership. This selective program is offered by the Klingenstein Center at Columbia’s Teachers College. The goal of the Klingenstein Center is to develop and strengthen leadership among teachers and administrators in independent and international schools. 

The Master’s program in which Jake is enrolled in is made up of a cohort of 50 educators from all across the United States. As an educator based on the African continent, he brings a unique perspective to a very diverse group of educators from around the globe. In addition to the networking opportunity already provided, the Private School Leadership program is designed to help participants expand their teaching skillset, with classes on education law; curriculum and cognitive development; academic research methods, equity, inclusion, and strategic school leadership, and more. 

The course requires that each student complete a project that will help in leadership and character development in private schools. For his capstone project, Jake is writing a grant proposal requesting funds from the Templeton Foundation. He plans to use the funds to further cultivate and measure the development of the Seven Traits in ALA students, which aim to support students in demonstrating Africanism, and measuring their effectiveness as Communicators, Collaborators, Critical Thinkers, Ethical Autodidact and Entrepreneurial.

As a part of his capstone process, earlier this month, Jake traveled around the United States to engage with others who share his passion. These experiences included a trip to Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, New York, and a meeting with a senior researcher at the EL Education organization, also located in New York. Accompanied by ALA Founder and CEO, Chris Bradford, Jake also traveled to Philadelphia to visit and learn more about a very unique organization, the Character Lab. The Character Lab was established in 2013 by popular psychologist Angela Duckworth, as well as the University of Pennsylvania Professor Christopher H. Browne, and Dominic Randolph, the Head of School at Riverdale Country School, which Jake had visited days prior. While in Philadelphia, Jake attended the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) annual conference. With over 4,000 educators, administrators, and other education professionals in attendance, this major conference offered Jake the opportunity to attend leadership development workshops, as well as break out sessions on problem-solving. 

Reflecting on the experience, Jake says that it not only grew his network but also helped him further appreciate all of the work that the Entrepreneurial Leadership team at ALA does and how it contributes to the overall leadership development of ALA students. Jake also came away with a deep appreciation for how ALA supports professional development for educators; he feels that it is essential in helping teachers improve their strategic academic planning. Such professional development opportunities upskill teachers the same way that ALA teachers work every day to upskill their students, bringing the heart of the Academy’s mission to its employees as well as its students. 

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