SUCCEED Testimonials

What Leaders in Education Are Saying About the Long-term Impact of the McGrath SUCCEED System:

“The most significant result I’ve observed is a focus on optimizing the potential of the people we already have. I believe that most administrators now have the idea they are working to create productive relationships with those they supervise in order to effect change. It is fairly challenging to communicate in ways that foster growth among ourselves and others. I believe that SUCCEED provides the principles and tools that make it much more possible.”

Carole Lee, PhD
Director of Assessment and Evaluation
Fontana Unified School District
Fontana, CA

“The implementation of the SUCCEED System has promoted a culture of accountability for our entire School District. Our leaders are more direct and factual in communication both verbally and in writing. Principals are improving teacher and employee performance and acknowledging when the job is well done. This system is now in the fabric of our daily practices and has been a major contributing factor in maintaining our reputation for high academic results. It has been a systemic, on-going change, not a one-stop staff development training. Some days I personally use the tool twenty times or more — for everything!”

Kathie Crume
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources
Academy School District Twenty
Colorado Springs, CO

“What the SUCCEED System provides is a basis for communication that can be used in any situation. It’s something that the Teacher Consultant can go through, not just to structure written communication but also verbal communication. It is objective rather than subjective which, of course, people perceive as more fair. It takes out the emotional element, allowing you to be nonjudgmental and factor in the bigger picture. A person doesn’t feel shredded because you’re always including ‘here is how we’re going to fix it. This is fixable. No more vague saying, ‘You need to do better.’ My reaction after the first time I used it was: ‘Whoa! This stuff’s pretty powerful!'”

Marilyn Prall
Chula Vista Elementary School District
San Diego, CA

“The managers in our county office were profoundly impacted by the McGrath SUCCEED System and its emphasis on principled accountability. A true systemic change occurred in how our supervisors relate to the people they supervise. No more ‘write first, ask questions later.’ Rather, matters are now fairly discussed before anything ever appears in writing or on an evaluation. No surprises! Managers now lead and evaluate in a manner they always dreamed about but didn’t know how to implement: from trust, respect, compassion and a commitment to growth.”

Joseph Taylor
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources
Mendocino County Office of Education, CA

“Throughout all the years we’ve been doing training to improve the quality of performance, Mary Jo McGrath’s SUCCEED training is by far the best we have ever done. I can honestly say it is the only staff training and development that has resulted in a systemic change in how we supervise and evaluate employee performance. The quality of this program is unsurpassed. We initially implemented it twelve years ago, and in each succeeding year, our principals have found it increasingly useful.”

Dr. Glen Smartschan
Mt. Lebanon School District
Mt. Lebanon, PA

“I’m Betty Pehlman, Director of Human Resources for the Upper Moreland Township School District in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In thirty years of working with both public and private sector environments, The McGrath SUCCEED System is the first leadership training program that I have seen that takes into consideration the whole person or persons in making decisions about situations.

The McGrath Succeed System can provide anyone in a leadership role with a communication model that can be consistently effective in any environment. The course, manuals, and accompanying videos provide a template that is concise, practical, and can be integrated immediately in any situation.

Within a few weeks of our managers completing the Succeed with Supervision, Evaluation and Leadership Course, they were able to utilize the concepts and model for written communication with several employees who had performance difficulties. In using the thinking process and communication tools taught in the program, they were able to stay focused on the issues, take into consideration all the circumstances surrounding the issue, including the human dynamics, and draw objective and defensible conclusions. The employees clearly understood what the concerns were, and why we had drawn the decisions we had. Even the unions could not argue with the process, even though they disagreed with the outcome.

By integrating this program into our leadership culture, we are changing that culture in a positive way, building trust and demonstrating to our employees that our intent is to be consistent and fair, but also to be respectful and considerate of them as people in our daily interactions with them.

The fact that the leadership skills can be integrated immediately into any environment as a way to communicate effectively in a positive way even when the situation may be very difficult can only lead to more trusting relationships. I’m very excited about growing with our management team here and finding more ways to apply the McGrath model in our organization.”

Betty Pehlman
Director of Human Resources
Upper Moreland Township School District
Willow Grove, PA

Upper Moreland Township Schools serves 3161 K-12 students with approximately 350 administrators, teachers and staff, and 4 school sites. 15 miles north of downtown Philadelphia, Upper Moreland is part of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area.

“People are complaining because principals aren’t being effective in correcting ineffective employee performance. It is a pervasive problem on a national scale. The current system for supervision and evaluation forces the principal into the role of an adversary with their employees and drops them rapidly into a disciplinary stance when they attempt to correct performance. There is no means for being constructively critical, and this lacking has disastrous consequences.

The principals end up telling themselves they have no power, which is not true, but that is what they believe. Feeling powerless and often like a fraud, they wait until they are so frustrated and aggravated with a situation that they start out by lambasting the employee regarding the issues. They pull rank and use their status rather than relatedness in an attempt to dominate the employee into a correction. Not surprisingly the employee takes it all very personally, as if the principal is saying “there is something wrong with you, you wretched person” and fights back. Professionalism goes out the door.

Bottom line, the current system breeds adversarial relationships and the principals are untrained in anything else. They then act and occur to others contrary to their real nature of caring and even loving people. They act and are frustrated, angry and nasty, defensive and aggressive.

The McGrath SUCCEED System and its philosophy, tools and structures keep objectivity and compassion in and allow the administrators to design and create the outcomes they really want. There is a place of peace that the principal works from that is detached from emotional upset and firmly planted in legally fit and principled results and relationships.

In the current system a good deal of the problem lies in where a person is coming from when he or she goes to handle an issue. When a person comes from the principles of the SUCCEED System they are outside the mechanism of powerlessness and attacking. Feedback is no longer just negative but includes positive feedback that is researched and warranted.

Using the SUCCEED System there are phenomenal gains from just a short verbal or written communication, done according to the constructive and principled model of the System. The McGrath system is the tool that moves people forward, in a streamlined and structured way. The principals develop the habit of acknowledging the positive and correcting the negative, leaving the human being on the other side intact in their personhood.

The SUCCEED structure and tools are highly useable to carry out the supervision and evaluation requirements of the school district and the state, for both certificated and classified employees. Its legal fitness helps to assure that all required mandates are fulfilled, including safeguarding due process and just cause rights of the employees. SUCCEED is a simple system with powerful results.”

Joan Roberts
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Monterey County Office of Education
Salinas, CA