The High Impact Leadership (HIL) for School Renewal Project, a collaboration between Western Michigan University, the Reading Now Network, and the GELN Literacy Task Force, comprises a diverse and hard-working team.

Meet Dr. Dorothy VanderJagt    – HIL Project Coordinating Team

“In the medical profession, when someone’s having a heart attack we don’t worry about what hospital they’re going to, what doctor they have…that’s the mindset we want with our children in literacy….No matter what school they’re attending, no matter what teacher they have, no matter where they live, we want to get them every resource we can….Our goal is to help all those students and all those teachers succeed.”

The HIL Project Team:
  • Supports 75 school buildings and their leaders (and interacts with a control group of an additional 75 schools)
  • Partners with 17 intermediate school districts (ISDs) or educational service agencies (ESAs)
  • Engages 50-160 school district superintendents
  • Collaborates with multiple partners, including professional associations, the Michigan Department of education, business/community groups, and nonprofits


“If you have ever seen a hot air balloon take flight, that is what this process has been like: hundreds of hands from all over West Michigan have been holding the ropes, keeping the balloon steady, as it fills with air. We anticipate that in two and a half years the results will be as magnificent as the summer sky filled with colorful hot air balloons. “ –Lisa Ryan, Assistant HIL Project Director