Testimonial Comments.

Customer / Client Organizations

During 2003-05, we consulted extensively with the Saint Paul Public Schools in St. Paul MN.  To talk with someone closely connected to our work there, please feel free to contact either of these people in the Office of Leadership DevelopmentKate Wilcox-Harris, Executive Director, at 651.767.8306. 
That work has involved

  • providing direction and support for specific schools experiencing difficulties in terms of the internal school community;
  • the District's Leadership Institute (for aspiring Principals);
  • the creation of a series of workshops called the Core Curriculum tied to the District's competency-based Leadership Model;
  • the implementation of at 360-degree feedback program;
  • support of the team leaders for the Small Learning Communities (smaller groups of students within the high schools);
  • support of the District's Family and Community Involvement coordinators;
  • workshops for specific groups such the Nutrition Services staff;
  • targeted individual coaching for key personnel both within the schools and in the central administrative offices.

Here's what Jean Ronnei, Director of Nutrition Services for Saint Paul Public Schools, had to say about a customized version of the Core Curriculum attended by her staff.  The particular workshops she refers to feature the Core Communications material:
"Our world of Nutrition Services is all about creating healthy "hits" for our students, and providing them with a dining experience that will encourage a lifetime of healthy eating habits. To advance this mission, staff throughout the organization need to be in a place of creative, open and constructive communication. The Core Curriculum training has brought our supervisory and administrative staff to that place! In some ways, I'd say the training prepared us to take responsibility for our communications and has brought about meaningful dialog up and down the departmental "chain". I'd say the speed at which we are able to implement new ideas and modify processes has increased significantly, while the bumps along those roads have diminished."
To read an article describing our work in Saint Paul (prepared for the Minnesota OD Network Newsletter), you can download this article: 

In addition, over the last 10 years we have conducted half-day, full-day, and several-day sessions on a variety of topics for the following organizations:

  • Eden Prairie School District and High School in Eden Prairie MN
  • Chaska High School in Chaska MN
  • Hamline University's Professional Development Program in St. Paul MN
  • Ramsey County Leadership Academy in Ramsey County MN
  • Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis MN
  • St. Pius X School in White Bear Lake MN
  • Urban Leadership Academy in Minneapolis / St. Paul MN
  • Several individual schools within the local  School Districts

To find out whom to contact at any of these organizations, please send us a note.


Here are comments from just a few of the over one hundred people who have participated in our Leadearship Development sessions.  These words come from

  • scientists and engineers working in industrial R&D organizations and
  • teachers and administrators within the education community working in various public school systems.

“Michael Ayers of The Commonwealth Practice has worked with my leadership teams in both individual school settings and district-level organizations.  His work in the areas of leadership development, systems thinking, and scenario planning has been an extremely valuable asset for each site, helping the professionals within the organizations enhance their ability to serve their students. 
“Whether in leadership courses in the administrative licensure program in universities, in public workshops, or in site-specific staff  development settings, the feedback from participants always features top ratings and comments on the applicability to their real jobs.  Michael brings the reality of the business world to join with the reality of the education world, helping create substantially better leaders for our schools, students, and community."
William A. Sommers, Ph.D.
Program Manager, SEDL
Senior Fellow, University of Minnesota
2006 President of National Staff Development Council

"The Leadearship Development program was a great experience all around!  The philosophy and style of their program made the learning easy and fun.  I especially enjoyed the sections on personality profiles and systems thinking ... and I find myself using these lessons back at work daily.  THANK YOU for the experience!"
Jerry W. Hall
Senior Process Development Engineer / Team Leader

"Leadearship Development was not a class, a seminar, or an experience - it was a journey to a fuller life.  Some parts were wild, others exhausting.  Every step taught me something about myself I hadn't known before.  Such life-changing journeys require caring guides; I'm glad I traveled with the best:  Michael Ayers and Mike Marois."
Bret Ludwig PhD
Research Specialist

"Prior to taking the Leadearship Development journey, I felt my career was adrift.  I couldn't convince anyone that I was capable of doing much more than was expected of me, even though I saw business needs and often offered my help.  During Leadearship Development, I acquired knowledge in areas of communication, leadership styles and personality differences that helped me to better understand myself, as well as others, and present myself as a professional.
"I became confident enough to take that leap of faith for myself and took on business tasks that were being unattended to.  Recognition came quickly thereafter and ultimately my career has advanced, with the potential for continued advancement, beyond any level I had dreamed of prior to Leadearship Development.  I owe much of my development to the instructors of Leadearship Development, as they were patient, perseverant and wise.  The rest has come from within myself.  Now that I know the true value of this experience, if given the chance to take Leadearship Development all over again, I would not hesitate.  But, this time around, I would get there early, stay late and ask as many questions as I could."
Linda Eichinger
Product Responsibility Liaison

"During Leadearship Development, I had several ‘moments of clarity’ in which I understood an aspect of leadership in a new and useful way.  One high impact moment for me was our discussion on Servant Leadership when I realized that I have tendency to live a work life separate from my home life.  I was able to connect my personal beliefs with my work world and see leadership as serving others, removing obstacles, recognizing gifts in others, and enabling others to use them."
Jeff Bennett
HR / Training Specialist

"Leadearship Development is the best team building experience I have witnessed in my 25 years of industrial experience.  Very effective in opening up and validating communication styles and demonstrating through practice sessions how different styles contribute to effective over-all results and strategy formation.  The facilitators were phenomenal at this style of leadership building. "
Chris Evoniuk Ph.D,
Chemical Engineer, R&D Specialist

"Throughout Leadearship Development, the facilitator consistently demonstrated sensitivity, compassion, a comprehensive understanding of psychology, and a mastery of techniques that facilitate productive communication and risk-taking within a group.  These would be valuable attributes to find in anyone, but they're especially powerful in this case because they also bring the rational perspective of a scientific background and the hard-nosed pragmatism of his business experience to the table.  ... truly remarkable facilitation."
Karl R. Beach
Operations Director

"Some of the most valuable lessons that I learned during Leadearship Development revolved around the strengthening of my communication skills.  Through this course, I gained a stronger and more practical use of communication - both listening and speaking.  Our facilitators modeled and asked class members to work on techniques in delivering and hearing whole messages.   These skills have transformed my relationships with my family, my friends, and most of all, my students.  Even my most difficult students understand these whole messages and respond both maturely and positively in difficult situations due to the skills which I developed through their guidance.
"In addition, their extensive experience as both avid learners and leaders proved outstanding.  Course materials were eclectically assembled, yet they revolved around the central themes of leadership development and open communication.  Course literature emphasized not only organizational leadership skills, but life skills as well.   The content can be applied to various facets of professional development, relationship building, and interpersonal communication.   As was illustrated during the course of the instruction, these entities must be harmonious in driving individuals within an organization to collaborate and make sound decisions with the purpose of creating individual autonomy while working towards a common organizational objective.
"I appreciated the facilitators' ability to incorporate a balance of small and large group discussion, a wide variety of literature, and meaningful, thought provoking lectures.  This course truly transformed my ideas about leadership and forced me to evaluate my own role as a teacher-leader."
Erin Burggraff
7th Grade Teacher

"Leadearship Development was outstanding.  I highly recommend it for school management teams or those that are in leadership roles within the educational setting.  I guarantee positive feedback and excellent results."
Gordy Geurink
School District Superintendent

"There is no single definition for leadership.  Leadearship Development, however, delivered A+ rated training.  The coaches were unique.  An awesome experience in leadership training."
Dr. Milind B. Sabade
Team Leader

"As a public school teacher in a very large and often times confusing district, I found Leadearship Development an invaluable course.  With continuing funding cuts and growing support for site-based management, our schools are in dire need of strong leadership at the building level.  In Leadearship Development the facilitators shared a wealth of experience and knowledge in a thoughtful and engaging manner.  Functional content around organizational dynamics and systemic thinking prompted me to look at my role as a public school teacher through a new and very different lens.  Armed with knowledge, experience and renewed confidence I am supporting change at the building and district level."
Kellie Krick
Special Education Teacher

"I was very impressed with Leadearship Development. There were numerous skills, such as improving our communication skills, which has been useful in every aspect of my life.  I found the concept of followership to be revolutionary. It has given me a better understanding of what it takes to make an organization be successful."
Dean Yocum
Social Studies Teacher / Head Football Coach

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