Mary Laigle, Gilbert Intermediate principal, was recently selected for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity through Raise Your Hand Texas attending The Principals’ Center Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“It is the best professional development I have ever gone to. My main goal was to learn how to really focus on the needs of my campus,” Laigle said. “And my biggest hope is that the other principals in the district will follow. They can do and I want them to.”

Laigle interacted with administrators from all over the United States and was provided with information and tools which will be an asset to Gilbert Intermediate and others at Stephenville ISD.

Laigle applied for the program, which included essay writing, critical thinking exercises and group/individual interviews.

“It’s really pretty competitive. I’ve had two or three applicants over the years that did not get in,” Matt Underwood, SISD superintendent, said. “So I was kind of impressed because Mary hasn’t been a principal for that long. They don’t take just anybody and it’s fully paid, they pick up the whole bill, and Harvard will allow you to enter their grad school.”

Laigle attended the program, Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership, which was taught by faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Building strong campus leaders is one of the fastest, most effective ways to improve education for all kids in public school across Texas,” Dr. Andre Morgan, program director for Raise Your Hand Texas, said in a release. “With this year’s cohort, Raise Your Hand will have sponsored more than 10 percent of all Texas principals to benefit from a rigorous week-long program at the Harvard Leadership Institutes.”

Those interested in seeing Laigle’s journey through the program can visit Gilbert Intermediate’s Twitter page, @svilleGil.

Laigle was also recognized at Monday’s SISD board of trustees meeting for her hard work in this prestigious program.