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Program for Urban Superintendents Expands Its Focus

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Washington

Superintendents Prepared, a popular program that trains educators for the rigors of the top job in urban school districts, has fine-tuned its approach to provide more intensive training and additional support for its graduates in the field.

The Washington-based program, which in the past has trained about 30 people a year, accepted only 12 this year. Program administrators reduced the pool to help tailor the program more to each individual.

Several foundations have pledged $950,000 to help pay for the program over the next three years, and administrators say they'll use some of that money to create an alumni network to support graduates who are working in urban districts.

To accommodate more candidates in the future, the program hopes to create several regional training sites.

The nondegree program began in 1992 with the mission of enlarging the pool of qualified candidates willing to tackle the responsibilities of a big-city schools chief.

It was created by the Washington-based Institute for Educational Leadership, the McKenzie Group consulting firm, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a research and public-policy organization focused on issues of particular concern to African Americans. ("Foundations Seek To Expand Pool of City School Chiefs," Feb. 5, 1992.)

To date, 82 people have completed the yearlong training program, and 15 have been hired as first-time superintendents. These include Clifford Janey in Rochester, N.Y.; David Snead in Detroit; and Linda Murray in San Jose, Calif.

'Best and Brightest'

Of the 82 graduates, seven nontraditional participants from such fields as law, business, and the military have moved into administrative posts in public school districts.

"Without question, our work to identify and train the best and brightest to lead the nation's large, urban school districts in an efficient and effective way remains critical in today's society," Barbara McCloud, the program's director, said.

Superintendents Prepared will create a special program for first-time superintendents to address barriers to raising student achievement in their districts. And the program will work with the American Association of School Administrators on a national survey of minorities and women in school administration in each state.

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