HomeManagementNAPT’s McGee Hewitt Discusses Leadership at Annual Conference

NAPT’s McGee Hewitt Discusses Leadership at Annual Conference

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Molly McGee Hewitt, the executive director and CEO of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), provided the second keynote of the association’s Annual Conference with a focus on leading from the center.

McGee Hewitt became NAPT executive director last fall, having previously served as the CEO for the California Association of School Board Officials, where she worked with the Transportation Professional Council to develop an education program specifically for transportation leaders.

She noted during the keynote on Sunday that leadership is shifting as the workforce shifts and a new generation enters.

McGee Hewitt, who based her presentation on the research she studied during her doctoral program, provided insight into her, “Why.”

“I exist to empower, promote and inspire leadership in education,” she shared, adding that NAPT is more than a job to her, as it’s something she enjoys doing.

For her doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Pretoria, McGee Hewitt conducted research and compiled case studies of successful organizations to determine what factors contribute to success and if they could be repeated in other organizations. This led to her development of “Leading from the Center.”

Providing anecdotes from her own experience, she explained how the following components provided the base for developing a successful leader and team. She noted that the older she became and the more experience she gained, the more she realized that she wanted to be a leader who empowers her team and hires people that excel in areas that aren’t her strong suit.

She added that the six components of leading from the center include:

  1. A leader with confidence in their own leadership and with a desire to empower, promote and develop leaders on their team.
  2. A culture that values collaboration and shared decision-making.
  3. Clear roles, responsibilities and expectations.
  4. A dedication to the organization.
  5. Time to build the leadership team, leadership muscle and create and sustain the process.
  6. A problem-solving approach to organizational accountability.

McGee Hewitt noted that people learn to become leaders in three ways: observation, experience, intentional study and actions. Meanwhile, leading from the center, she said, allows one to have confidence in the decisions, build continuity and culture in operations, experience more meaningful relationships, address challenges with strength, and enjoy one’s leadership journey.

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Related: Q&A: Back to School with New NAPT Executive Director McGee-Hewitt
Related: Update: New NAPT Executive Director Addresses Members Amid Board Voting
Related: Families Look for Transportation as School Districts Face Bus Driver Shortage
Related: California Student Transporters Remember Al Sauvadon

“The leader that you are is your choice,” she said, adding that leaders should be modeling the behaviors that they want to see within their teams.

Meanwhile, Michele Gay, co-founder and executive director of the Safe and Sound Schools, also spoke on Oct. 29, sharing her first-hand experience with responding and recovering from tragedy. Gay’s 7-year-old daughter Josephine was one of 26 people killed in the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2012.

Gay discussed how tragedy affects communities and the aftermath of what to expect. She spoke from her own experience and how leaning on faith, family and friends helped her to move forward.

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