An Interview With Outgoing Chief Operating Officer George Weinstein
Next month, AAL will say goodbye to its most senior employee, George Weinstein. George has been with AAL since 2008, and has served in variety of different capacities within the company. Prior to his departure, George reflected on his service with AAL:
When I joined AAL in 2008, my primary responsibilities were managing our professional development programs and assisting AAL President Dr. Karl Haden. Because of my writing ability, I soon took on the marketing duties. As AAL continued to grow, new hires allowed me to shift my focus to program management and marketing. In addition, as often happens with the most senior employee, I picked up other tasks along the way, from infrastructure/IT manager to chief of staff.
Dr. Felicia Tucker-Lively, a critical hire for AAL, proved herself so capable as my project manager that I stepped out of my programs oversight role, so she could become Director of Professional Development, where she has continued to excel. That move allowed me to focus in large part on marketing duties, from electronic and print advertising to website creation and improvements to the newsletter and The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders book editor.
What have been the biggest changes you’ve witnessed during your tenure at AAL?
From its founding in 2005, the academy has had two areas of expertise: professional development and consulting services. AAL has grown in both areas due to important hires and increased interest from clients because of word-of-mouth reputation and, to a lesser extent, my marketing efforts. AAL’s extraordinarily capable staff and consultants have enabled us to serve more clients, perform a broader array of consulting services, and offer a wider range of professional development.
At the start of my tenure with AAL, we were exceptionally good at teaching teachers to teach better and showing leaders how to lead better. Now, we do those things even more effectively, but we also have become experts in guiding faculty through the conduct of research, writing for publication, crafting grant applications, career planning, and coaching for professional and personal growth. On the consulting side, we’ve helped a growing number of new professional schools get established and accredited, improved curricula and strategic plans in colleges not just domestically but in other countries, and made clinic operations more cost effective and profitable. In addition, we have invested in the use of big data to improve how programs assess student learning, determine who is achieving competency, and, for those who are not, pinpoint the precise subject matter where they need help. Through a partnership with Certum Informatics and access to their XComP™ product and grading tools, we can give education its long-overdue Moneyball moment.
On a personal note, anyone who works long enough in an organization develops close bonds with peers and those who benefit from the services on offer. My most profound regret about “retiring” from AAL is the loss of daily contact with the friends I’ve made over the years: Karl, Felicia, Marcia, Toby, Becky, Director of Accounting and HR Michele Hill, project manager and editor Jessica Merrill, our newest consultant and Certum senior product manager Wayne Flint, our dozens of other expert consultants, and the faculty, administrators, and staff whose lives literally have been transformed by our offerings. After more than thirty years of employment, I can state that my eight years at AAL has enabled me to participate in the most meaningful work I’ve ever done.
What plans do you have planned for your post-retirement future?
From a young age, I have expressed my thoughts and feelings best through the written word. In my twenties, I courted and wooed my wife-to-be with love letters. At her urging in 2001, I became a full-time writer and wrote four novels between 2002 and 2008, when I decided to join AAL and start earning money again (any authors reading this will attest to the difficulty of making a living solely through writing). So, it’s only natural that—again at my wife’s behest—I will return to writing fulltime in mid-April 2016.
My latest novel—a mystery this time—will be published later this year, and then I’ll embark on yet another book, its genre TBD. My goal is to finish a novel every year or two until I expire, hopefully at an advanced age with many more stories behind me. In addition, I’ve served the Atlanta Writers Club since 2000 and will continue to help emerging writers learn the craft and business of this unique and sometimes puzzling way to spend one’s time.
Those interested in my published works can learn more about them, and correspond with me, via my website: www.georgeweinstein.com.
We wish George joy and success in his next chapter.