In Praise of Baldrige Examiners

By Christine Schaefer

In the past five years, by helping Baldrige Award applicants improve, Baldrige examiners and members of the Judges’ Panel for the Baldrige Award process have favorably impacted more than $142 billion in applicant organizations’ revenues and budgets. They have benefited the quality of those organizations’ products and services, which impact more than 450 million customers. They have benefited the work environments of more than 600,000 employees. And they have had favorable impact on communities in every region of the country where those organizations reside and contribute as corporate citizens.

At this year’s annual recognition ceremony for Baldrige examiners, held during the Quest for Excellence® conference in early April, Baldrige Program Director Bob Fangmeyer pointed out that any calculations of the impact of volunteers’ contributions both to the program and to the U.S. economy are almost certain to underestimate their actual value.

Bob Fangmeyer speaks at the April 2016 ceremony recognizing Baldrige examiners' invaluable volunteer work.

Bob Fangmeyer speaks at the April 2016 ceremony to recognize Baldrige examiners’ invaluable volunteer work.

“The Baldrige Program cannot exist without the dedication and commitment of our exceptional volunteer workforce,” Fangmeyer told the examiners and judges who were able to attend the ceremony.

Board of Overseers Chair Rulon Stacey speaks at the April 2016 examiner recognition ceremony

Board of Overseers Chair Rulon Stacey speaks at the April 2016 examiner recognition ceremony. Seated at left are Baldrige Foundation Chair George Benson and Baldrige Judges’ Panel Chair Laura Huston.


Rulon Stacey, speaking on behalf of the Baldrige Program’s Board of Overseers, praised examiners for their considerable efforts to help organizations improve through the evaluations they conduct during the Baldrige Award process.

“You take your own time, and it is a heavy burden,” said Stacey of examiners’ volunteer work for the Baldrige Program. Those who fully understand the Baldrige Award process, he said, recognize the great importance of examiners’ contributions. He noted that the feedback that examiners write for Baldrige Award applicants is “how [organizations] change and improve. … the crucial link in the process is the feedback report.”

“I am truly thankful for your time and effort, and I believe the entire nation owes you a debt of gratitude!” Stacey said. Baldrige Foundation Chair George Benson and Baldrige Judges’ Panel Chair Laura Huston also spoke and officiated at the ceremony.

The Baldrige staff joins Fangmeyer, Stacey, Benson, and Huston in thanking the dedicated volunteers who believe in the Baldrige mission and thus offer their time and talents to improve the performance and ensure the long-term success of organizations in every sector of the economy.

Posted in Baldrige Events, Baldrige Examiners | 2 Comments

PBS Features Rebirth of Rural Hospital

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey

They say there are just seven story plots that have ever been told: The Hero’s Quest, Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, Rebirth, Voyage and Return, Comedy, and Tragedy (Christopher Booker, The Seven Basic Plots).

And so when writing about Baldrige Award recipients, I often hear stories of overcoming resource issues or unfortunate circumstances or a difficult economy. I’d say that most of these recipients’ Baldrige journey stories would fall under the “Rags to Riches” motif, or maybe “The Hero’s Quest.”

pbsruralhospitalPBS Newshour recently covered the story of one Baldrige Award recipient that I can only categorize as “Rebirth.” The article/segment “After Tragic Mistake, Rural Hospital Transforms into Model of Success” follows the journey of Baldrige Award recipient Hill Country Memorial, which several years ago had a “crucible moment.”

“Since 2010, more than 50 rural hospitals have closed across the country, and hundreds more are in fragile financial condition,” says PBS’s Sarah Varney. “Rural populations have declined, and in many places, those that remain are largely elderly or uninsured. . . . Many rural hospitals have been unable to withstand the revenue losses. The hospital in Fredericksburg, a town of about 10,000 deep in the heart of Texas Hill Country, could easily have faced a similar fate.”

Hill Country Memorial has always been a truly community hospital. When it opened in 1971, 93 percent of the county’s households contributed money, but in the early 2000s, patient and workforce satisfaction was low, and the hospital was mostly in the red. Following the tragic death outlined in the segment, the hospital made some sweeping changes, including implementing the Baldrige Excellence Framework.

Jayne Pope, who became chief executive officer in 2013, attributes much of the hospital’s success to its continuous focus on improving patient care. “We know as a rural center, we can’t do everything,” Pope said in the article. “But what we do, we determine what those core competencies are, and invest in those skills so that our patients have the best of care.”

In 2015, Hill Country won the Baldrige Award and has been named one of the “Top 100 Hospitals” by Truven Health Analytics for the past four years. In addition, it was selected by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of its “Top 100 Great Community Hospitals.”

This story of the hospital certainly reads as Rebirth to me.

Posted in Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Criteria, Health Care, Leadership, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Rural School System Transforms Itself (Supported by the Baldrige Framework)

By Christine Schaefer

A woman who’s spent 45 years working to improve public schools in three states recently told me an inspirational story. It’s about educators accomplishing things that defy the odds and the usual expectations. Ultimately, it’s about the value of the Baldrige Excellence Framework for the nation’s school systems in rural as well as suburban and urban areas.

I know many people get bored reading about a systems perspective, process alignment and integration, continuous improvement, and other Baldrige terminology. But there is an exciting arc to the story I’m going to share. And the Baldrige framework is instrumental.

In this story, leaders of a poor, rural school district that once ranked dead last in its state for student achievement adopted a completely different perspective and set of approaches on how to improve. The new way of managing their entire organization has helped them overcome socioeconomic and geographic disadvantages for their students’ learning. What’s more, their successes can be replicated—because they’ve been guided by the ever-evolving framework for organizational excellence that has benefited every sector of the U.S. economy since it was introduced in the late 1980s.

Baldrige Roots in North Carolina
The story truly begins in South Carolina. There, in 1990, a rising school leader named Susan Allred first met and started working with Dr. Terry Holliday. By 2003, Holliday had become the superintendent that would lead North Carolina’s Iredell-Statesville Schools (PDF file) through a radical improvement journey over five years. To turn around a district seen by some as being in crisis at the time (Allred says it was “unaligned”), Holliday implemented comprehensive reforms using as a foundation the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence).

From 2003 to 2008, when Iredell-Statesville Schools (I-SS) won the Baldrige Award under Holliday’s leadership, Allred served as the district’s chief academic officer. She was also the district’s lead for category 6 (the “Operations” section of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence). Allred helped lead the district as it progressed through the state-level Baldrige award process and then the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award process. The district applied three times for the prestigious national award, she said, adding, “I was in the war room in 2008 during the site visit.”

Although Allred retired from I-SS in 2008, she responded to a call from Holliday to come back to work two years later. He had become the Kentucky state commissioner of education. And he asked Allred in 2010 to work in Kentucky with two of the lowest-performing schools in the state as part of a larger, statewide school-improvement effort called “District 180.” Although the districts were in impoverished areas in eastern Kentucky, the improvement work would be funded by federal school-improvement grants.

Turning Around the “Worst of the Worst”
When Allred arrived to work with district staff members in the Lawrence County Schools in eastern Kentucky, “They had been told in essence ‘you’re the worst of the worst,’” she said. “They had nowhere to go but up.”

Sunrise over the high school field in Lawrence County, Kentucky

Sunrise over the high school field in Lawrence County, Kentucky

Dr. Cassandra Webb is the chief academic officer of Lawrence County Schools. Allred calls Webb “the catalyst for [the district’s] five-year turn-around through a systems approach.” For her part, Webb said the turn-around that began in 2010 owes a lot to the new superintendent at that time, Michael Armstrong, who restructured the district office and stayed in the position until 2014.

“We received a letter that our high school was named among ten lowest-performing schools in the state of Kentucky,” Webb recalled. After receiving that official notification, the district was the first to apply for and receive a federal school-improvement grant.

Mandated changes included the removal of the principal of the district’s high school and the implementation of training for improvement, Webb said. The training introduced Webb to Allred as well as to Carolyn Spangler from the Kentucky Department of Education’s Division of School Success. Webb was impressed by the way Allred and Spangler introduced the Baldrige Criteria through “one-on-one coaching, rather than a top-down approach” with the district’s senior leadership team.

Allred started her work by introducing the seven categories of the Baldrige Criteria to district staff members using a graphic that showed the linkages among the categories. “It became clear [the Baldrige framework] was the answer,” she said.

For example, she described how the district applied the Baldrige Criteria to address “some broken processes at the high school to serve students with disabilities.” Allred guided educators there to develop a systematic approach, using Plan–Do–Study–Act (PDSA) methodology to improve the processes.

Coaching and Teamwork for Improvement
According to Allred, while her role initially focused on teaching and promoting “Systems 101” learning, Webb and Spangler focused on the school district’s systems. “They began fixing broken systems one at a time,” Allred said, so that the district became “results- and process-oriented.”

Spangler served as the state-designated “education recovery leader” for the district’s improvements for five years, including two as a monitor of progress. A former principal herself, Spangler served as a coach for Lawrence County’s high school principal, and together they focused on aligning the school’s instructional delivery and other systems to increase student achievement. Along with Spangler, the state also sent grant-funded literacy and math coaches to support the district for three years. All three members of the state team were on site on a daily basis in Lawrence County during the three-year period.

Using the Baldrige framework helped Spangler work with the Lawrence County district and school leaders as a team, she said. “The linkage of the seven categories [of the Baldrige Criteria] taught us to get at the same goals and results.” In addition, Spangler said the focus on systems “helped us look at data and keep personal feelings out of the picture.”

Economic and Geographic Challenges
Dr. Robbie Fletcher has been superintendent of Lawrence County School District since July 2014. He previously was principal of a high school in a neighboring Kentucky county. There, according to Allred, Fletcher “helped turn that school around and was introduced to quality systems there through an education recovery team” [funded by a federal school-improvement grant].”

Fletcher described how the decline in the coal industry and closing down of a local power plant ended two major industries in the region and caused his school district to lose “a lot of good families.”

Students express school pride in Lawrence County High School gym.

Students express their school pride in the Lawrence County High School gymnasium.

He also explained that as a result of the county’s economic and geographic conditions, “winters are tough for us.” For example, his district’s school buses travel 450 miles on gravel roads to transport students. This means “we have to call off school a lot during harsh weather due to transportation challenges.” In the 2014-2015 school year, 31 school days were thus impacted, he said; as of early March 2016, 19 days had been impacted in the 2015-2016 school year.

However, Fletcher explained that his district has been using technology to provide home-based instruction during severe weather. On days identified by the district as “Nontraditional Instruction Days,” he said, every student is required to participate in schooling via one of three options: (1) a student can participate in schoolwork via the Internet on the actual day (Fletcher said 70% have been electing to participate this way); (2) a student’s parent can come to school to get hard-copy schoolwork materials (28% are participating this way); or (3) a student can make up missed work after returning to school. Given that managing for innovation is a core value of the Baldrige framework, finding such solutions to old and new challenges alike is becoming systematic in the district today.

Becoming a Data-Driven District
Webb credits Allred’s training on data-driven decision making with leading the district to create a dashboard of student performance data that now publicly display student academic data every nine weeks. That system involves schools at all levels and has evolved since 2010.

Fletcher has “taken the system to a whole other level,” said Webb, with processes and protocols now extending to the classroom level and encompassing planning as well as data use to measure and monitor student learning. She said goals are set and communicated by all stakeholders, and that every teacher receives those data via a Google drive. The data also are published via an electronic board-meeting system. And all principals in the district make quarterly presentations to the school board on their school’s results data.

Further, the district expects that all school administrators (principals) communicate to their school’s advisory or site-based councils their building’s 45-day, short-term action plans for school improvement, said Webb. And those action plans feed into annual school improvement plans.

Each Lawrence County school has a quarterly dashboard, which may vary from seven to ten measures. For example, the high school’s dashboard includes college- and career-readiness measures. School dashboards also include Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) data. In addition, Webb said, longitudinal MAP data are made available to parents to see how their student has progressed throughout their elementary and secondary school education.

Improvements Achieved, Improvements Planned
According to Fletcher, when he joined the district, it had a goal of being a “proficient district” (as defined by the state) within two years. “We accomplished that in one year,” he said, “Next we have a goal of being [identified by the state as] a distinguished district by the fall of 2017, have all five schools be proficient, have all students be on grade level in math and reading, and improve in career- and college-readiness measures. Those are our four major strategic goals.”

Dr. Robbie Fletcher, Superintendent of Lawrence County Schools

Dr. Robbie Fletcher, superintendent of Lawrence County Schools

“We know that we’ve very blessed,” said Fletcher. “To be where we are doesn’t mean we’re happy with where we are. Improvements we’re planning include [staff] training with the business sector on customer service and communication.”

Webb affirmed that the district is now rated by the state of Kentucky as “proficient” based on its achieving at the level of at least the 70th percentile in statewide assessments of students’ academic performance. The district now has a long-term aim to become a Baldrige Award recipient, and this is written in its strategic plan.

Among favorable results trends, Lawrence County students have improved significantly on the state’s Index for Career and College Readiness since 2010, said Webb. Other results improvements she shared include the following:

  • Overall School Accountability Index (a Kentucky state measure of school quality): Improving from 29th percentile in the 2013-2014 school year to 80th percentile in 2014-2015
  • Elementary School Accountability Index: Improving from a ranking of 54.9 in the 2013-2014 school year to 66.6 in 2014-2015, with one elementary school being named a “High Progress/Proficient School”

    Third graders read in a Lawrence County classroom.

    Third graders relax while reading in a Lawrence County school classroom.

  • Middle School Accountability Index: Improving from 58.9 in the 2013-2014 school year to 60.8 in 2014-2015
  • High School Accountability Index: Improving from 66.3 in the 2013-2014 school year to 75.7  in 2014-2015, with the high school being named a “Distinguished High School”

“Lawrence County has truly made [Baldrige] their system,” said Spangler. “They no longer need coaching.” She’s now working in another district that’s under state supervision and has taken its superintendent to visit Lawrence County because it is “a model of systems.”

“I’ve been fortunate to see [Fletcher and Webb] take these systems and keep reaching higher with their goals. So I don’t have a doubt that they will reach their goal of 100 percent college- and career-readiness.”

Why the Baldrige Framework Works
Allred is passionate about the benefits of using the Baldrige framework to help school districts improve.

“[The Baldrige framework] is the perfect [foundation] because you have to go deeper than [the process improvement tools] that get [educators] talking but are on the surface,” she said.

She illustrated the importance of education organizations’ defining their processes “to make them clear to other public agencies” with an example of a severe truancy problem that one of the eastern Kentucky districts faced. She said the district blamed the local court’s process (involving juvenile detention), but when Allred asked about the district’s process to address the problem, it wasn’t well defined. In the end, the school district discovered that other public agencies better cooperate with schools when they have conversations about aligning their processes, she said.

She also spoke of a benefit that stems from the fact that the Baldrige framework is not a partisan or commercial product. “[Educators] realize it’s not a political thing. This is management theory,” she said. For example, she said, “Most will agree when there’s a deployment issue [a Baldrige process evaluation factor] or “not monitoring what we have in place. So [Baldrige] is about giving educators the tools to solve problems.”

Of key importance to her work, Allred pointed out that the nonprescriptive nature of the framework and Criteria questions enables her to assist school districts with “leading [improvements] with them as opposed to me telling them how to do it.” The framework thus fits her job of “coaching for improvement,” she said.

“Educators find hope when they … are not upended by politically driven or trendy educational theory changes” and when they can embrace the solution they’ve helped develop, she added. “I believe in [educators’] ability to solve their schools’ problems. The Baldrige process helped us solve problems in eastern Kentucky … and continues to do so.”

Because of the improvements she’s helped support, “there are people in eastern Kentucky who think I’m brilliant,” Allred said, laughing. “So I wrote everything I know on two pages of paper. I give it to them and tell them, ‘I got this from studying the Baldrige Criteria.’”


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Baldrige is Answer to How to Create the Culture You Need

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey

Only one person on the planet can claim to have led three organizations to Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards. And he did it with a focus on people, purpose, passion, and a whole lot of role-model leadership.

DSC_9300Being honored with the 2016 Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award, John Heer, Jr., former president and CEO of Baldrige Award recipients North Mississippi Health Services (Tupelo, MS), North Mississippi Medical Center, and Baptist Hospital, Inc. (Pensacola, FL), said “I love Baldrige. I love everything about it. It’s such a good role model.”

Heer said he was first introduced to the Baldrige Health Care Criteria around 1996, “I read through the Criteria, and I thought, man, that’s how you run a great company.”

Despite being honored for his role-model leadership and commitment to advancing excellence, Heer said he hasn’t done it alone. In addition to thanking his wife, Polyanna, and God, thousands of employees helped him make excellence happen.

“One person can’t win the Baldrige Award,” he said, “It has to be an entire organization. From somebody sweeping the floor, to the cook back in the cafeteria, to the CEO, to the board. Everybody has to be involved, and I’ve worked literally with thousands of people over the years who I love dearly and really appreciate all of the effort they have put into really what I would call more than Baldrige. What I would call culture. . . . None of the organizations that I’ve been associated with ever really said, ‘We’re doing Baldrige.’ We were. But what we were really doing was creating a great culture. And if you look through the Baldrige Criteria and really study them, that’s what you’ll see, that it’s culture. That’s what Baldrige is all about.”

Heer said culture is something that he’s “passionate about, something that I love, something that I feel is my purpose in life.” He founded P3Leadership: People, Purpose, Passion to share tips and articles about culture and leadership.

Through the 1990s and early 2000s, you rarely heard people talking about culture, even in Baldrige circles, he said; when Baptist Hospital was honored with the Baldrige Award in 2003, among seven organizational recipients that year, not one senior leader mentioned culture in acceptance speeches.

DSC_9309At the 2015 Baldrige Award ceremony in early April, every single person who came up on stage talked about culture, said Heer; “I think what we’re seeing is a big change in the business environment now. People are starting to realize how important culture is.”

But “as employers grasp its importance, they also realize that they have no clue where to begin in creating the culture that they need. And you know what my answer to that is, right here. Baldrige can help you create that kind of a culture,” he said. “We’ve got a recognition now that culture is extremely important, but then we’ve also got the recognition that a lot of people really don’t know what culture is or how to start to change it.”

Heer shared quotes from Peter Drucker (“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”) and “Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.”

“Now think about that for just a second,” said Heer. “Does that scare you to think about a company that basically just lets things happen? They doesn’t really have a plan? ‘[Culture] develops organically over time’. . . . How many CEOs get fired from these companies? . . . [As we hire people] we’re finding what kind of culture we are actually creating in this company. That’s scary.”

Heer referred to a Fortune magazine article “How to Build the Perfect Workplace” by Geoff Colvin, who wrote, “The secret to attracting and holding on to the world’s best talent isn’t about the perks—it’s about relationships. . . . You’ve realized by now that we’re talking about culture, the way people behave from moment to moment without being told. More employers are seeing the connection from culture and relationships to workplace greatness to business success.”

Added Heer, “What’s most common among Baldrige Award winners and other role models is great culture and great people. Culture in a nutshell from my perspective is who you are, how you behave, your relationships.” And he took it a step further, defining a servant culture: “A servant culture is a servant leader, servant-led employees, a servant environment designed to ensure that employees’ highest-priority needs are being met, with character that inspires confidence. [A servant culture is] mission-driven, vision-focused, values-centered, employee-centered, and customer-devoted.”

Heer defined the characteristics of servant leadership: humility, patience, guidance, respect, selflessness, forgiveness, honesty, commitment, results-oriented, a no-excuses environment, no egos, team accomplishments.

He said part of the servant culture focus on employees has to do with their great importance on the front-line. “So why is focusing on employees so important? This is a little tongue and check, but who is going to implement all of your great ideas? Who is going to make your products or deliver your services? Who is going to give great customer service? Who is going to control your costs? Who is going to help you grow your data and information? If you think about it, the front-line is what customers see. They don’t see what goes on in the leadership section. . . . [The front-line] makes a huge difference [on how customers view the organization.] Seriously. It’s the right thing to do. It’s about treating others the way that we want to be treated. Create a superior culture, which leads to dedicated employees and decreases turnover.” He added that in health care the costs to recruit, hire, train, and ensure a fully functioning new registered nurse total at least $40,000.

To be a servant leader, you have to be trusted, empowering, and respectful, and you have to ensure focus, discipline, execution, and, added Heer, a whole lot of prayer.DSC_9319

  • Focus: Means continued alignment and reference to the mission, vision, values, and critical success factors. “You can’t let the employees forget why you are there and what things are about,” he said. And “don’t chase rabbits,” meaning don’t keep changing your leadership initiatives, he added.
  • Discipline: Means eliminate programs that don’t relate to the mission, vision, values, and critical success factors. Be able to say no in a nice way if a new idea doesn’t fit with the mission or strategic plan, for example, he said.
  • Execution: Means clearly and widely communicate. You have to let people know why you are doing something; it has to be tied back to the mission, vision, values, or critical success factors.

“It doesn’t sound like very complicated stuff does it?” he asked. “Then why do so many of us not do it. Create, monitor, measure. Reward and recognize champions. Coach low performers. You may have to move some senior leaders out of leadership or out of the organization.”

Heer summed up his vision of servant leadership, saying, “Imagine a workforce so engaged that they were giving you great ideas, they were innovating, they were willing to make the changes that you were trying to instate. . . . They create customer loyalty, higher-quality products and services. They actually participate and help with financial performance, and you can have growth because you’re doing all of those things well.”

Posted in Baldrige Award Process, Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Criteria, Health Care, Leadership, Workforce Focus | Leave a comment

School Boards and the Baldrige Framework = Excellent Results

By Christine Schaefer

The 2013 Baldrige Award-winning Pewaukee School District of Wisconsin began using the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence (part of the Baldrige Excellence Framework) at the prompting of a school board member, according to its superintendent, JoAnn Sternke. Larry Dux—then clerk of the Pewaukee School District Board of Education—was familiar with the Baldrige framework’s value to the business sector from his work. Dux believed his school district could benefit just as for-profit organizations had from adopting a systems approach to improving its performance, among other Baldrige core concepts.

He was right. As Sternke’s high-performing school system has since demonstrated, the Baldrige Education Criteria can be used as a self-assessment tool by a school and, better yet, the entire school system to improve performance in all key areas. Those include leadership and governance systems; strategic planning and development; approaches to engaging and supporting students, stakeholders, and employees; knowledge and data management as well as performance measurement; operations; and results.

Sternke and Liz Menzer—a longtime school board member and a leader in both Wisconsin’s Baldrige-based program and the nationwide network of local programs known as the Alliance for Performance Excellence—presented earlier this week on the Baldrige framework’s benefits to school boards at the 2016 annual meeting of the National School Boards Association (NSBA). I recently asked them to share some key information about their presentation for readers of the Baldrige blog.

As background, Sternke noted that NSBA has identified the following as core skill areas that effective boards of education need to ensure that all students achieve at high levels: vision, accountability, policy, community leadership, and relationships.

“These five dovetail beautifully with the Baldrige framework,” said Sternke. “In fact, the Baldrige framework supports and makes these concepts become actionable. This is the focus of our presentation at the National School Board Association conference (held in Boston, April 9–11).”

When asked why school boards can find the Baldrige framework valuable, Menzer responded, “Ensuring that public education will meet emerging challenges requires a clear vision for the work and operations of school boards in the future. The Baldrige framework can help boards shape proactive strategies that make school board members more relevant, credible, and effective leaders of public education.”

Sternke and Menzer each shared examples of the value they described, based on their respective experiences in school communities in Wisconsin.

“Using the Baldrige framework has helped our organization better utilize people, plan, and use processes to achieve [desired] results,” said Sternke. “Our board and our senior leaders clearly know their roles and their key work as we pursue our mission to open the door to each child’s future.”

For her part, Menzer said, “Using the framework has made us more data-driven, and this makes us better decision makers. It also makes us better ambassadors for public education because we can be less anecdotal and more factual about the good things going on in our public schools.”

Sternke and Menzer also provided their answers for three questions school boards are likely to ask about adopting the Baldrige framework, as follows:

1. Does adopting the Baldrige framework add more work for school boards?

Menzer: “No, it just organizes your work and provides focus.”

2. How do you get started?

Sternke: “The state-level, Baldrige-based programs of the Alliance (see link above) throughout the country can be great resources for educational leaders. In fact, Pewaukee School District got started with the support of the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence, which is headed by Liz Menzer.”

3. What’s the board’s role and the superintendent’s role in pursuing school/district improvement?

Sternke and Menzer: “One of the nice things about using Key Work of School Boards along with the Baldrige Excellence Framework is that these resources provide clear direction about governance versus operations. The first clearly presents differing roles that superintendents and school board members hold in education organizations that function optimally. These roles are supported by the Baldrige framework, which aligns the focus for all and also identifies the line between leadership (the work of senior leaders) and governance (the work of the board).”


To help your local school board get started using the Baldrige Excellence Framework, consider downloading and sharing copies of the following free resource containing sample Baldrige Criteria questions:

And please share how this or other Baldrige resources have helped your board of education and local schools improve and excel.

Posted in Baldrige Award Recipients, Baldrige Criteria, Baldrige State & Local Programs, Education | Tagged , , | 1 Comment