Cheryl Mayberry joins Search Institute’s leadership team to advance improvement science

Cheryl Mayberry

Cheryl Y. Mayberry will join Search Institute in February as the organization's first Vice President of Improvement Science. Mayberry brings a wealth of experience to the position through her years of leading quality improvement initiatives in the private, public, and non-profit sectors.

"Our objective at Search Institute is to become the organization that schools, family-serving organizations, out-of-school time programs, and community coalitions want to work with to strengthen developmental relationships in the lives of young people," says Dr. Kent Pekel, President and CEO of Search Institute.

Pekel says, "We will achieve that goal in part by continuing to conduct high-quality research that explains how and why developmental relationships with adults and peers help to put young people on a path to becoming thriving young adults. But conducting new studies is only half of our strategy. We must also become extremely good at helping organizations use data and research on developmental relationships to achieve their objectives for young people.

"That's where Cheryl and the emerging discipline of improvement science come in. With Cheryl's leadership, I am confident that we will make huge strides forward on that front in 2015."

Improvement science has long been practiced in the worlds of business, medicine, and the military but is relatively new in the sectors of education and youth development in which Search Institute does its work.

"Too often, improvement efforts in those sectors have depended upon identifying a best practice that worked in one setting but cannot be easily replicated in another setting," explains Pekel, adding, "Unfortunately, in environments that are as fluid and complex as schools, youth programs, and communities, what worked 'over there' often does not work as well—or not at all—'over here.' "

Improvement science, in contrast, harnesses the "wisdom of crowds" by bringing people and organizations together in networks that collaborate to solve problems. The approach brings together systems and processes through continuous trial-and-error experimentation and data feedback. As a result of that facilitated process, lessons about what works for certain young people under specific conditions are continually shared across the network.

Early work being conducted at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and elsewhere suggests that using the techniques of improvement science increase the chances that what worked in one setting can be successfully adapted for use on a broader scale.

Mayberry has a demonstrated record of using those techniques to improve processes and outcomes that matter to both individuals and organizations. Among other methodologies, she is a black belt in Lean Six Sigma quality improvement, a skill she utilized as a leader of process improvement initiatives at General Electric, Target Corporation, and Amoco Corporation. Over the past five years, Mayberry has served as the owner and principal consultant of Integrated Performance Management. In that capacity, she has worked with the Harvest Network of Schools, the Sanneh Foundation, Generation Next, Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic Corporation, Lutheran Social Services, and units of county and city government across Minnesota.

Mayberry's academic credentials include an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and an MBA in Decision Sciences from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Among other volunteer activities, Mayberry serves on the steering committee and co-chairs the education work group of the African American Leadership Forum, the volunteer coalition of African American leaders and community members in Minneapolis and St. Paul that works across multiple sectors to help African Americans succeed in and contribute to the broader community.

Mayberry will begin her tenure at Search Institute on February 9, 2015. Pekel says, "At that time, we will reach out to Search Institute's present and potential partners to begin a dialog about the ways that our ongoing research on developmental relationships and our new expertise in the discipline of improvement science can help them to achieve their organizational goals."

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

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