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Recruitment & Retention

15 States Awarded Grants To Help Recruit Diverse Principals

By Mark Stricherz — May 16, 2001 2 min read

Fifteen states will receive grants worth at least $50,000 each to draw up plans to recruit more women and minority applicants to become principals.

The Council of Chief State School Officers announced the recipients last week as part of an $8.9 million grant program financed by the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds. Each of the 15 states is also likely to receive a $250,000 award in the coming fall. (“Reader’s Digest Grants Will Focus on School Leadership,” July 12, 2000.)

While the looming shortage of principals has a number of states worried, officials with the Washington-based council and the foundation said diversity is their No. 1 goal with the program.

“We want to attract a broader pool of applicants” to be principals, said Lee D. Mitgang, a spokesman for the New York City-based fund. He cited a need to “reflect the rest of the world,” especially by attracting more woman and minority candidates.

Cheryl Z. Tibbals, the director of the council’s State Leadership Center, said program officials were more concerned about attracting qualified principals than with the quantity of them. During two focus groups conducted last summer to gauge state’s leadership needs, she noted, a number of principals said that many applicants for the jobs lacked sufficient background and training.

The states that received the $50,000 planning grants are: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

Stresses of the Job

Doug G. Miller, the coordinator of professional development for the Missouri Department of Education, said his state’s highest priorities were recruiting more principals and retaining newly hired principals.

“One of the greatest difficulties we have is that a lot of people are licensed, but they don’t do the job well because it’s become so stressful and complex,” Mr. Miller said.

The state hopes to use part of the expected $250,000 grant in the fall to hire 15 to 20 mentors for first-year principals, he added.

New Jersey plans to use part of the money for various professional-development programs for principals, superintendents, and supervisors of curriculum programs, said Jay Doolan, the director of the office of standards and professional development for New Jersey’s education department.

Indiana won’t decide what it will do with the anticipated grant until the fall, said Debra R. Lecklider, the executive director of the Indiana Principals Leadership Academy for the state education department. But she called the issue of recruiting more women and minority candidates “very important.”

Ms. Tibbals of the Council of Chief State School Officers said a committee was likely to approve all 15 states for the $250,000 grants, though she added some could be denied the additional funding.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2001 edition of Education Week as 15 States Awarded Grants To Help Recruit Diverse Principals

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