Creating a unique community of small and rural school leaders.

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What is ACOFEE?

A unique community creating a safe harbor for rural and small school leaders to connect, reflect, and grow together.

"We live, in fact, in an age starved for solitude."  C.S. Lewis

Our most impactful and sustaining growth and awareness comes when we stop, listen,  and intentionally create alone-time to reflect and recharge.  Your time as school leaders is devoured by meetings,  phone calls,  emails, texts, unexpected disruptions, and community responsibilities.  As leaders of rural and small school districts your time away from your role is nearly non-existent.  In order to lead with clarity of values,  thriving wellbeing, and self awareness of strength you have no choice but to schedule and prioritize solitude.  It is in these moments when you develop greater certainty and conviction of purpose and the daring to persevere during times of adversity and challenge. 

Solitude is defined as detachment, peace, quiet, removal of outside noise and distraction.   At ACOFEE, we strive to help you retake your innate need for reflection and connection.  We provide the opportunity to immerse yourself in solitude of thought, integration of a thriving wellbeing, and on-going implementation of your unique strengths  with those who share your similar position. We believe that when two or more are gathered in a trusting environment, over coffee, investing in each other's development great leaders emerge.   

Too often the hard thinking is done for you.  You are asked to "sit and git" your development based on what others have defined as important with no input from you.  There might be a time and place for that approach but a growth and development vacuum is created when that is the only option on the table.  At ACOFEE there are no vendors at our events.  Ever.  No sales presentations. No policy,  regulation, or compliancy discussions.  

Genuine Leadership Development is focused on the strengths, wellbeing, and values of the individual leader and linked to outcomes specific to their position.

At ACOFEE we use a proven and research-based approach to personal leadership development  We focus on the individual by identifying and exploring their unique strengths, applying those strengths to a thriving wellbeing and clarity of values. Beginning in 2018, we will host retreat-like events,  monthly strength and wellbeing webcasts,  and personal one-on-one or partner strengths coaching.  


Kelly Peaks Horner, Founder & Thought Leader

Kelly  has been a dedicated education advocate and professional for over 30 years.  She has served as a teacher,  teacher leader,  school administrator,  Human Resources Specialist, and education consultant.  For 15 years she partnered with superintendents and school leaders all over the country and created measurable impact and better days for students and families.  

She is at her best when in conversation with Superintendents, sharing their favorite brew,  creating a strategic path to a great future for staff, students, and families.  Kelly holds a Bachelor's degree in elementary education and a Masters Degree in education leadership and supervision from George Mason University.   

Angela Bain, PhD, SPHR, Superintendent, Strategic Consultant, Peer Mentor

Dr. Angela Bain began her career as an educator in 1981 when she became a teacher.  Prior to her current position, she was one of the Deputy State Superintendents of Education at the South Carolina Department of Education. Her goal is making connections and bringing people together on behalf of the children in South Carolina. She will continue with that mission at ACOFEE. She taught at Converse College and the University of South Carolina preparing future teachers and school administrators.
Her resume includes time spent as a teacher, college professor, middle school assistant principal, middle school principal, director of the South Carolina Department of Education’s office of teacher evaluation, assistant superintendent , and chief human resources officer.  In 2014, Dr. Bain was awarded the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) Personnel Administrator of the Year. In March 2013, she was selected and participated in the Harvard Graduate School’s  Institute for Superintendents. She holds a PhD in educational leadership and policies from the University of South Carolina, a Masters in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina, a Masters in Education from Converse College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Winthrop College. Dr. Bain holds a South Carolina license in a number of content areas. Her administrative license includes the areas of elementary and secondary school principal/supervisor and as a superintendent. Currently, Angela is the Superintendent in a school district in South Carolina. She is excited to serve as a consultant and mentor to the members of ACOFEE.

Charles McClendon, Jr., Strengths and Engagement Coach

Charles is President and Senior Workplace Consultant at No Ceilings, LLC.  He has successfully implemented culture change and strengths-based employee engagement sustainment initiatives for Fortune 1000 companies, schools, colleges, and churches for over 25 years.  Charles was a Senior Workplace Consultant for the Gallup Organization for 20 years and began his own successful workplace consulting practice in 2011.  Clients impacted by his consulting work include Walt Disney World, McKinsey “The Firm”, Ritz Carlton, General Motors, Toyota/Lexus, Glazers, Inc., Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Philadelphia Public Schools and the University of NE-Lincoln.  Charles will walk your strengths and wellbeing  journey with you.  

What do they say about us?

"I've have known Dr. Angela Bain for many years and she has been a trusted mentor for myself and many Assistant Superintendents and Superintendents.  I have worked closely with Dr. Bain as a consultant on many Human Resources issues.  She has always provided thorough, unbiased, by the law, perspectives on everything from policy development to employee grievances.  I have also used Dr. Bain as a sounding board on many Superintendent topics; our districts are similar in size and rural, which is unique to many districts in the southeast.  Dr. Bain's experiences allow her to give insightful prospective to any Senior level school administrator."

Dr. Tim A. Newman, Superintendent, Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4

"About six years ago we found our organization operating with outdated job descriptions and in some areas, none existing job descriptions. We contacted Dr. Bain because of years of experience as a certified leader in the field of Human Resources. Dr. Bain arrived at the district and facilitated alignment and reorganization of our job descriptions in collaboration with our Human Resource Director. Angela's approach was inspiring, collaborative and her knowledge in the field was impeccable. I would say that Dr. Bain saved my organization countless hours of research by having a wealth of knowledge and resources to get the job completed. I would without one doubt, recommend Dr. Bain to serve as the facilitator for the reorganization of systems regarding Human Resources. She lives and breathes this level of organizational leadership."

Martin L. Wright, Superintendent, Hampton County School District 2

"I have worked closely with Kelly over the years in various capacities as she worked with Superintendents and Principals on their hiring and selection of teachers.  Kelly has a unique ability to strategize with leaders,  understand their individual needs,  and develop and implement impact plans that lead to growth and outcomes for students.  She is at her best talking with Superintendents and leaders about how to create engaging environments for students and great workplaces for adults.  She understands all leaders are unique and should lead and motivate from their individual strengths, not their position.  I highly recommend partnering with Kelly and the team at ACOFEE as they coach executive staff to reach their district's mission."

Dr. Elizabeth Arons, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Schools Human Capital Academy

"Kelly Horner is a strategic thinker and her ability to support leadership development initiatives is exemplary. I have known Kelly for nine years and she has shared her expertise in strategic planning and human resources development which has resulted in a highly effective system for selection,

development, and coaching support in our school district. Kelly is passionate about her work and is also passionate about seeing others improve their processes. She is very personable and a great listener. She takes care to understand the culture and context of our organization and aligns her work to the context of the organization. I know that if you have the opportunity to work with Kelly, you will have a professional partner for life who is also vested in your success and the success of your organization."

Dr. Kendra Washington-Bass, Director of Leadership Development, Gwinnett County Public Schools 

"Charles McClendon has been assigned to mentor and coach employees in the North Central Region of General Motors Sales, Service, and Marketing for the past 18 months.  In particular, Charles has been assigned to two staff members who are responsible for changing the culture of the 375-member field organization with the intention of improving relationships with our dealer body (4000 retailers). As one of those being mentored and coached by Charles, I have been very impressed by his breadth of knowledge and passion for the subject of organization development and change. He brings high energy to this critical effort to help our employees become more innovative and to embrace a customer-centric approach. His knowledge of strengths-based leadership and his positive approach to learning has been eye-opening. I have learned so much from Charles over the past year and a half that I can’t put a price tag on it, it’s been priceless!  Please advise if I can provide any additional information regarding Charles skills and expertise in coaching and facilitation."
Mark Picker, Ph.D.Senior Field Advisor General Motors


"Charles McClendon is a gifted presenter, mentor and strengths development expert.  He has a strong understanding of success profiles across a range of jobs.  He has been an onsite consultant to teach managers be more effective. He came to know the car industry well and has traveled the world to teach engagement and strengths-based management practices. He has experience in healthcare, hospitality and retail industries and has coached entrepreneurs to higher performance.  He has won awards for the work he's done with young people. Charles has worked with colleges and universities who cite him for the number of young leaders he has personally assisted in their academic and career pursuits and achievements.  In twenty years, Charles has helped thousands of people each year know how to be more effective at work."  

Connie Rath, President, The Clifton Foundation


coming soon! 2018 membership opportunities!

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