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WASDA Professional Service Partners


As a member of WASDA, you have access to our Professional Service Partners at any time to provide counsel and guidance for you to explore possible options in addressing important issues that confront you. Professional Service Partners are then available to you to provide direct facilitation and ongoing services and support on a contracted basis to meet your specific district interests and needs.

The Donovan Group LLC, founded in 2004, is a communications and community engagement firm that focuses exclusively on education. Over the years, its work has involved some of the most critical and urgent issues facing our schools, districts, and educational organizations. In all of our work, we emphasize engaging community members in the challenges and opportunities of their local public schools. Our clients range from large urban schools and districts to small, one-school rural districts inside and outside of Wisconsin. We also provide communications and consulting services to various state and national associations and organizations.

The services we offer span a wide range of areas, including work with districts in advance of a capital or operational referendum, developing and executing communications plans, writing news releases, and assisting in the organization of community events. We also provide graphic and website design and communications assistance on many different issues, including difficult subjects, such as Wisconsin school finance and changes in state- and federal-level educational policy.

For the past thirty years, Drew and his colleagues at Howick Associates have been providing advisory, training and coaching services to leaders who are committed to making a positive difference in how their organizations function and the results they obtain.  During the last ten years, Drew has transitioned his efforts to working almost exclusively with public education, where he focuses much of his attention on increasing community engagement, enhancing the effectiveness of school boards and improving the the culture of the organization by advancing the engagement of all staff members.

Community Engagement:  There are many methods to engage the public in a meaningful way and selecting the best approach is dependent upon your purpose, what you have done in the past and what your board is willing to support. Designing and facilitating community engagement discussions can help you effectively address issues that range from closing of school buildings, changing boundaries and providing facility advisory recommendations.  If the objective is to create a shared vision and identification of priorities, a future search  may be of your best approach.  The outcomes of these conversations are clear priorities that provide direction to your strategic plan and in the process, strengthen community partnerships.

Board Engagement:  High functioning boards are not automatically elected, they are made, and as a superintendent, you are in a position to lead them in this learning journey.  There are usually three area of emphasis to help your board perform more effectively:  (1) establishing an organizational focus—which includes having a clear mission, vision and guiding principles, (2) ensure there is operational alignment—so members know how to function as a governing body, and (3) agreement on institutional commitment, where they demonstrate their accountability to the district’s stakeholders.  In short, the emphasis here is helping your board to pay attention to where attention needs to be paid.

Staff Engagement:  Research tells us that in most organizations, less than one-third consider themselves actively engaged, but when they are, they are

  • 3x more likely to recommend improvements
  • 4x more likely to stay in their current job
  • 5x more likely to recommend their workplace

. . . all of which contribute to your competitive advantage for attracting and retaining talent.  There are many factors that impact a person’s level of engagement and the two that have the most impact are the quality of the learning and development that is available and the type of leadership that they experience. Staff engagement is at it’s strongest when leaders adopt a servant leadership style and are committed to consciously creating a culture that is inspirational for all staff and students.

More Information

Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c. is a management-side labor and employment law firm representing public, private, and non-profit employers with labor and employment law. We also represent public schools, higher education institutions and public entities. Our team of attorneys bring years of experience in representing our clients in all areas of their operations, and for our public entity clients, we understand their unique needs as government entities, employers, businesses, property owners, creditors, and so much more. To serve our clients, we provide business law representation as well, including real estate law, general business, immigration and creditor's rights. With offices in Green Bay, Madison, and Oshkosh, we are able to service clients throughout Wisconsin.