The Director’s Toolbox Management Series

Are you a trainer, organizational consultant, or policymaker interested in providing leadership and management training in your state? The McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership works with individuals, organizations, and state agencies to develop informed and experienced trainers who can implement the Director’s Toolbox Management Series to support the leadership development of early childhood  administrators.

The series includes seven books and trainer’s guides:

  • From the Inside Out: The Power of Reflection and Self-Awareness
  • Leadership in Action: How Effective Directors Get Things Done
  • Navigating the Currents of Change: Systems Thinking in Practice (in development)
  • A Great Place to Work: Creating a Healthy Organizational Work Climate
  • The Right Fit: Recruiting, Selecting, and Orienting Staff
  • Inspiring Peak Performance: Competence, Commitment, and Collaboration
  • Circle of Influence: Implementing Shared Decision Making and Participative Management
  • Making the Most of Meetings: A Practical Guide

Choose from two options:

Option 1 | Individuals (from states other than Illinois)

Several trainers from across the country (Illinois excluded) are selected each year to participate in the Director’s Toolbox Training-for-Trainers initiative. Participants attend the McCormick Center’s Taking Charge of Change™ (TCC) institute held in August at the McCormick Center’s training facility in Wheeling, Illinois (14 miles from O’Hare Airport). This institute is attended by 20-30 program directors.

The trainers are active participants in the institute while they learn the content of Director’s Toolbox Management Series. Playing this dual role helps ensure they understand the curriculum from both the participants’ and trainers’ perspectives. Training-for-Trainers participants learn strategies for supporting quality improvements in center-based programs as well as planning and conducting dynamic workshops using the Director’s Toolbox Management Series books and trainer’s guides.

Training-for-Trainers participants arrive a day prior to the institute to receive an orientation about the training model. During the institute, they meet with McCormick Center faculty in the evenings to debrief on each day’s topics and discuss ways they can integrate part, or all, of the Director’s Toolbox Management Series—trainer’s guides, instructional strategies, mentoring activities, and evaluation design—into their local/state training or director credentialing projects.

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Option 2 | Organizations or state agencies

The McCormick Center faculty can help your organization or agency design and implement leadership training for center-based early childhood administrators in your community, region, or state. Our goal is to help you develop a cadre of trainers who can implement the Director’s Toolbox Management Series. We can offer training on the full management series or focus on just a few topics.

In partnering with different organizations and state agencies over the past two decades, we have learned that the supports needed for leadership and management training vary considerably across the country. Some states have implemented a comprehensive professional development system that includes a director credential. Other states have very few professional development requirements or supports in place for early childhood administrators.  We’ll work with you to design a model that fits your needs.

One popular model is for McCormick Center faculty to present a three-day training. The first two days consist of two of the topics in the Director’s Toolbox series presented to a group of center directors in your community along with your agency’s trainers. On the third day, only the trainers meet with McCormick Center faculty. Time is spent going through the trainer’s guides in detail, practicing different presentation techniques, and exploring options for tailoring the content for different audiences.

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