They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but there’s no such saying that applies to city mayors. 

That’s a good thing because High Point Mayor Jay Wagner is hoping to learn a few new tricks as part of a special educational program he’ll be taking part in. Wagner will join city leaders from around the world in the fifth, year-long class of Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

That program provides mayors, from all parts of the globe, executive training and coaching to help find solutions for city government’s challenges.

In recent years, High Point has really been attempting to elevate itself as a city with a new downtown revitalization and stadium, greenway enhancements, new parks initiatives, more entertainment offerings and other initiatives. The city’s mayor might now come back with some additional ideas that are working across the globe. Wagner also hopes to catch up on the latest in leadership and management practices.

He was one of 38 mayors chosen for the immersive educational program with the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.  As a member of the 2021-2022 class, Wagner will be taught by faculty from the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School.  In addition, he’ll learn from international experts from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network.

The program just kicked off with a three-day meeting for mayors in New York City that began on Sunday, Sept. 26.  

Wagner’s participation in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and that of two other High Point leaders – including tuition, accommodations, meals and airfare – is fully funded by the program thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

This week, Wagner said he believes this program will “help enhance our leadership team’s capabilities in these areas, not to mention, connect me with other mayors with innovative approaches to similar issues in their own cities.”

Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies – and a three-term mayor of New York City – collaborated with Harvard University to create the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in 2017.

Two senior-level city officials nominated by each mayor will attend a session in October and take part in virtual classes throughout the year. High Point City Manager Tasha Logan Ford and Assistant City Manager Greg Ferguson are participating in the year-long program. They’re supposed to help Wagner translate the new knowledge into actions that improve High Point.

This isn’t the first time the City of High Point has been honored by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The city was named a top-20 finalist in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “Mayors Challenge” nine years ago. That competition was created “to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life and that ultimately can be shared with other cities across the nation.”

  The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is meant “to equip mayors and senior city officials to tackle complex challenges in their cities and improve the quality of life of their residents.”

It was launched in 2017 and has worked with 400 mayors and 1,300 senior city officials in 478 cities worldwide.