Twelve23 Education Alliance Equips Educators
For Dr. Faron Hollinger, coordinator of the University of Mobile Center for Leadership's Twelve23 Education Alliance, education is about developing potential, both personally and professionally.
Hollinger's heart for developing others has motivated his career of more than three decades as a teacher, school psychologist, administrator, and superintendent. Twice Named "Superintendent of the Year" by two separate organizations for his outstanding service as superintendent of Baldwin County Schools, Hollinger's leadership has impacted others across the state of Alabama and beyond.
In 2011, Hollinger redirected his skills and experience to a new outlet: the Twelve23 Education Alliance.
"I read in the paper one day about Dr. Joe Savage and the new Center for Leadership at the University of Mobile, and I decided to write a letter of congratulations to Dr. Savage, wishing him well and offering my assistance however it could be needed," Hollinger said.
At the time, Hollinger didn't know that Savage and UMobile President Dr. Mark Foley had targeted seven cultural domains of influence in which the Center for Leadership would become involved.
Savage said, "Education was one of the top areas that we wanted to try to influence. We knew God had to raise up the right people to help us make an impact on the field of education, particularly within the public school sector."
Within a week of asking God to bring the right person to lead the education initiative, Savage received Hollinger's letter.
"I immediately knew he was our guy," Savage said.
Foley, Hollinger, and Savage met for lunch and shared their common vision to encourage educators with spiritual, professional and personal support.
"And, as they say, the rest is history," said Hollinger.
"Today, the Twelve23 Education Alliance influences hundreds of educators every week via an online devotion written by Hollinger. In addition, Hollinger and Savage have reached thousands of educators across the state of Alabama through presentations on leadership development specifically for those in the education sector.
Through the Gateway
Hollinger's lifelong ties to the Baldwin County, AL, educational system were established when he was a young man.
"My mother was treasurer and comptroller of the Baldwin County school system for 42 years. She served five superintendents, and I was blessed to get to know many of those men," he said.
After completing a degree in criminal justice and sociology, Hollinger worked for the State Department of Mental Health for two years before his relationship with the Baldwin County school system brought him back to his roots in education.
That's when Hollinger came to the University of Mobile, then Mobile College, to gain academic credentials for the education profession.
"I had been acquainted with the school for some time," Hollinger said. "But the University of Mobile became a gateway to the career that I pursued for the rest of my professional life."
Following his certification studies at UMobile, Hollinger continued his graduate studies in special education, and later finished his doctoral degree in educational psychology from the University of Alabama.
Looking back, Hollinger sees how his studies in leadership and educational planning were God's way of preparing him for the future.
Hollinger's career included teaching, psychology and administration roles in education systems for more than 30 years. He served as superintendent for two separate terms in Jasper, AL, then Baldwin County, from which he retired in 2010. Today, Hollinger is an educational consultant and coordinator of the Twelve23 Education Alliance.
"Being part of the Education Alliance has been a tremendous enrichment for me, and I hope it has enriched the lives of others as well," he said.
Leading the Way
The Twelve23 Education Alliance has teamed up with the South Alabama Research and Inserve Center (SARIC) to bring the message of encouragement and leadership development to educators across the state. Hollinger, Savage and his brother, Phil, a 20-year NFL executive, led a series of staff development presentations for educators through SARIC's support.
After Eric Mackey, executive director of the State Superintendents of Alabama (SSA), heard a presentation by the Twelve23 Education Alliance, they were invited to speak at the State Superintendents' Conference.
"The University of Mobile Center for Leadership is an excellent delivery model for providing faith-based support for today's educational leader. Now, more than ever, our schools need structure, discipline, and a return to teaching moral and ethical values. The (Educational Alliance's) beliefs and leadership modules provide today's education leader with the guidance and support necessary to return our schools back to being the cornerstone of democracy in our country." said Dennis Coe, president of the SSA.
In the future, the Twelve23 Education Alliance hopes to expand its offerings to encourage and develop more leaders at a deeper level, through writing, speaking, building relationships, and individual coaching.
Ultimately, the Twelve23 Education Alliance is about encouraging others to make an impact in their workplace, community and nation by equipping teachers, parents, and administrators in their Christian faith and professional responsibilities so they can lead others - and their schools - to reach their God-given potential.
"We have an opportunity to make an enormous impact by simply bringing people together, particularly those with faith in Christ, and helping to encourage and motivate them to apply their faith to their daily practice in the classroom," Hollinger said. "An openness to see where God is leading us is critical to the Twelve23 Eudcation Alliance. He opens the door, He just wants us to be ready."
To sign up for Dr. Hollinger's weekly devotions, schedule a speaker for your event, or find more information about the Twelve23 Education Alliance, visit www.twelve23.org or call the Center for Leadership at 251.442.2555.