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Leadership Long Beach

Opportunities To Serve: Developing A Leader In Education

By Dr. Felton Williams
Member, Board of Education, Long Beach Unified School District
LLB Class of 1998

Julie LarkinsSeptember 24th, 2013 – I was approached by Dr. Ginny Baxter, executive director of the Long Beach City College Foundation, to apply to the Leadership Long Beach program (LLB), during my first year as dean of business and industrial trades. I submitted my application for the Class of 1998 and was accepted.

The first meeting with my classmates set the tone and provided an opportunity for some initial assessments about the program and its challenges. Although having served in leadership roles prior to my involvement, the program was instrumental in refining and adding to my professional development. It involved a much deeper introspection about my willingness to share and accept leadership from others and to build trusting relationships. The retreat provided opportunities for that introspection and bonding that is a hallmark of the program.

There were numerous opportunities to continue to build on the concepts embodied in the LLB tradition through service on committees and commissions. Within LLB, those opportunities involved serving as chair of the program committee, vice president of administration and retreat chair for future classes of LLB candidates.

Beyond LLB, I served as a: Commissioner, Community Development Advisory Commission (appointed by Councilwoman Laura Richardson); Member, City of Long Beach “Ethics Committee” (appointed by Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal); member, Stakeholder’s Committee; member, St. Mary Medical Center Foundation, elected to Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education, serving two four-year terms, and now serving my 3rd four-year term, with three years as board president, and two years as board vice president. Currently serving as a member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Great City Schools. The council represents large urban school districts in the U.S.

I found as a result of my involvement in LLB, opportunities to expand my knowledge of leadership and service, and contribute more directly to the city, region and nation.

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(Founded in 1989, Leadership Long Beach offers principled leadership programs by educating and engaging adult and youth leaders on issues important to the city’s future and sustainability.

For more information, check us out at www.leadershiplb.org or www.facebook.com/leadershiplongbeach.)