Building and Engaging a Strong Leadership Team in Amador County

The Challenge: How to build a countywide effort to increase arts education  

The Strategy: Build a strong leadership team composed of cross sector partners (and keep them engaged)

The Story: The small county of Amador sits among the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When the Amador Alliance for Arts Education launched, one of their challenges was bridging the county's geography to build a coordinated effort across county schools.
"We needed a strong leadership team that gathered leaders from several key stakeholder groups to create a unified effort that bridged the county's hilly geography," says Terra Forgette, Executive Director of AmadorArts and the lead for the Amador Alliance.

Under guided recommendations from the California Alliance for Arts Education, the Amador Alliance hosted a community breakfast in 2012, inviting local community stakeholders from education, business, community and the arts. They created a “wish list” of influential local leaders to join their network, then formed a focus group to identify the “connectors” within their Alliance – those who had relationships and connections who could do a direct and personal ask to these key players.
The leadership team that emerged from that event and effort includes Dick Glock, Amador County Unified School District Superintendent; Stephanie Bramer, President of the Parent Teacher Organization; Linda Rianda, former Sutter Creek mayor; as well as local teachers and educators.
Today, the Amador Alliance is a highly connected team with direct connections to teachers and local parents ready to get involved, as well as school administrators who provide timely information about current issues and activities within the Amador County Unified School District.
Below, Terra Forgette provides a shortlist of guidelines for working effectively within their busy team:

1) Create working committees with specific assignments. The Amador LAN has respective committees who focus on updating a Resource Library, a Mentor List, and sending out PSAs

2) Have regular email conversations with updates, new ideas, progress on assignments, and shared information

3) Limit in-person meetings to 3 to 4 times per year
Goals for the Amador Alliance are to continue to improve outreach and engagement efforts to parents and community stakeholders, and create new partnerships by having local businesses host Arts Alliance events.
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