Achieve 180 administrator finds success with hands-on leadership

As the saying goes, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way,” and that’s just how Area Superintendent Felicia Adams chooses to lead the district’s turnaround program, Achieve 180.  

“My leadership style is a hands-on modeling approach where I lead from the inside rather than the outside,” Adams said. “I am big on modeling and showing administrators what the work looks like to move a campus forward.” 

A 25-plus year educator and former principal with her own accolades, Adams knows firsthand how to support the Achieve 180 campus leaders in gaining distinctions and closing achievement gaps within literacy and mathematics among the district’s most underserved populations.  

Now in her second school year leading the district’s turnaround program, Adams and her team, along with the district, have successfully exited multiple campuses from TEA’s “Improvement Required” list. 

“The key piece to Achieve 180 is maximizing each of the six pillars,” Adams said. “Achieve 180 focuses on building capacity in the areas of leadership excellence, teacher excellence, instructional excellence, school design, social and emotional support, and finally, family and community engagement. Research says that all pillars must be strong and implemented with fidelity to close achievement gaps.” 

In order to keep the program on a continued track of success, the Achieve 180 team works tirelessly (often after hours) collaborating with district administrators and principals in reviewing school improvement plans, aggressively monitoring the data, modifying plans and identifying areas where additional campus support is needed. 

It’s important that Adams and her team remain vigilant in supporting Achieve 180’s Tier 3 and 2 campuses by keeping the pressures of TEA dimmed and empowering leaders of their own capabilities that can transform their campuses into academic excellence.  

For the 2019-2020 school year, district administrators in the Academics Department and School Office have set a goal to reduce the number of schools labeled as “Improvement Required” from 21 to 0, while also ensuring no other schools move into “Improvement Required” status.  

“There are many factors to take into consideration when ensuring the success of an underserved campus,” Adams said. “Our focus is around turning a campus into the beacon light of the community. We do not focus on testing and we are focused on a strong instructional program that meets the needs of all students, as well as having the right campus leader and Tier II (campus support) leaders and knowing how to utilize all supports and personnel on campus.”