ExCEL: Better Principals, Better Schools

By Laura Angeline Pastores

Posted at Nov 15 2014 09:09 AM | Updated as of Nov 15 2014 05:09 PM

Newly established non-government organization Excel Center for Educational Leadership (ExCEL), a nonprofit that aims to enhance the quality of Philippine public education, conducted the first session of the pilot run of their Leadership Development Program designed for school leaders last October 16-18 in San Fernando City, La Union.

ExCEL was established in June 2014 to empower public school leaders—principals, master teachers, head teachers, etc—in the Philippines by enhancing their capabilities and potential as mentors that will enable them to address organizational needs through personal and professional development, and community engagement. ExCEL aims to provide these school leaders with leadership development and capacity building opportunities through the aforementioned Leadership Development Program (LDP).

Thirty-one (31) school leaders from La Union were selected to be the inaugural fellows for this year-long program that consists of five modules to be covered in six training sessions. The recently concluded first training session was held in the Community Learning Center located at the City Schools Division of San Fernando, and covered the first module on Personal Leadership.

The first session focused on evaluating one’s own leadership style and strengths. Guest speakers included Harvey Keh, executive director of Acts of Hope for the Nation (AHON) Foundation; Jess Lorenzo, leadership consultant for Seaoil Foundation; Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III; and former San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane Ortega. Guingona and Ortega both gave inspirational talks to the fellows on leadership. Guingona shared his take on practicing the art of listening, valuing time, doing your homework and the importance of getting that work completed on time, as he echoed an all too familiar line teachers often quote: “Finished or not finished, pass your papers.” Ortega reiterated how students are like sponges—they will absorb all that they are taught, so teachers should instruct them the best way they can, and guide them as much as they can.

Department of Education (DepEd) La Union Division Superintendent Rowena Banzon and DepEd City of San Fernando Division Superintendent Fatima Boado also dropped by to offer a few words of advice to the fellows.

In the course of the training, several fellows shared their sentiments on the LDP. “I know this program will be of great help to me… I am sure it will improve my personality and how I handle people,” said Anna Marie Ramos, principal of Cuenca Elementary School in La Union.

“This training session has helped me a lot in gaining more insights about leadership, and how to better run a school effectively,” said Jimmie Eslabra, a supervising principal.

Ma. Cherry Barrairo of the San Francisco National High School agrees. “Through the LDP, I know I can discover my leadership blind spots, as well as improve how I manage my school.”

Excel’s founder and executive director, Kai Pastores-Keh, shares that they have been consulting with DepEd and the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) to ensure that their modules address a gap in the current programs of the government.

“We don’t want to overlap with what the DepEd is already doing and waste valuable resources, so we are working with NEAP to ensure that our program has value added and would supplement government efforts, not repeat it,” she says.

Currently, Excel is being funded by private donors through sponsorships. During the first training session, Excel was also able to partner with Monde Nissin Corporation. The food company giant was generous enough to provide snacks for the participants for all three days.

To raise funds for the Christmas season, Excel is also planning to sell jar cakes. “Educakes,” as they are called, will be sold online starting mid-November. Details on these peppermint mocha cupcakes-in-a-jar will be available in the coming days. For inquiries, you may email [email protected]

For those interested to donate or sponsor a training session, you may contact Laura Pastores at (02) 256 2001 or [email protected]

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.