School & District Management

Group Offers Executive Training for Principals

By Jeff Archer — July 26, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

What can the Cuban missile crisis, the Ford Motor Co., and Starbucks Coffee teach about school leadership? Principals across Massachusetts are about to find out.

The Bay State has adopted a leadership-development program that borrows heavily from the military and corporate worlds to train about two-thirds of its urban school principals over the next five years.

The two-year course for midcareer principals, which began this month, was designed by the National Center on Education and the Economy, a Washington-based group that promotes standards-based education.

Individual districts elsewhere piloted the program, which took the center six years and $10 million to create. Targeted at urban schools, the Massachusetts effort is the first in which the program has become part of a statewide initiative.

John C. Fryer , the former superintendent of the Duval County, Fla., schools, shows off his "war room" of data this past spring.

With units on strategic planning, team building, and change management, the course is taught through computer simulations, seminars, online tutorials, and case studies about businesses, the armed forces, and schools. The participating administrators are grouped into cohorts that go through the training together.

“It’s exactly what they need at this period of time,” David P. Driscoll, the Massachusetts commissioner of education, said at a July 14 press event here announcing the plan. “They need the theory and the practice. They need those competencies that aren’t just true in the military and business, but also are true in education.”

Principals and district administrators in 12 urban Massachusetts districts began training this month on how to deliver the program to other working school leaders. By 2010, state officials expect 370of the state’s 528 principals in urban districts will have completed the course.

Projected to cost $4.5 million over that time, the effort is to be paid for by a combination of state and federal money.

Not ‘How to Keep School’

As part of the initiative, Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., has created a new Ph.D. program to allow those who go through the program to earn a doctorate by completing additional work. Other Massachusetts universities are considering similar arrangements, state officials said.

Marc S. Tucker, the president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, said his group based its leadership training on models in other sectors after finding few exemplary ones in public education.

“When we looked at administrator training in the U.S., it was ‘how to keep school.’ It was how to keep the organization running,” he said. “From our point of view, that wasn’t the challenge at all. The challenge was how to produce enormous increases in student achievement at no increase in cost.”

Four philanthropies underwrote the design and testing of the center’s regimen: the Broad Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the NewSchools Venture Fund, and the Stupski Foundation.

With the launch of the venture in Massachusetts, the national center is spinning off its training course as a separate, for-profit enterprise called the National Institute for School Leadership. During two years of field testing, the institute existed as a program within the nonprofit center.

John C. Fryer, who recently stepped down as the superintendent of the Duval County, Fla., public schools, is the president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based institute. (“Air Force General Leaves Fla. School District Flying High,” May 4, 2005.)

Mr. Fryer, also a retired major general in the U.S. Air Force, said he was working to expand the institute’s training course into a handful of other states.

“A lot of states with high-stakes accountability realize that there hasn’t been enough investment out there in executive training for principals,” he said.

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Video Tools Don't Have to Distract. Five Tips Show School Leaders How to Harness Them
Newsletters and announcements don’t always do the trick. Principals can use videos to improve their relationships with students.
4 min read
Image of a woman recording herself.
fizkes/iStock/Getty
School & District Management Quick Hacks: How Schools Can Cut Costs and Help the Environment
Schools can take advantage of tax credits and grants offered in the climate change spending package Congress passed this year.
3 min read
Newly installed solar panels stretch out along the north side of Madison-Grant High School near Fairmount, Ind., on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.
Newly installed solar panels stretch out along the north side of Madison-Grant High School near Fairmount, Ind., on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.
Jeff Morehead/The Chronicle-Tribune via AP
School & District Management How This Principal Uses TikTok and YouTube to Build School Culture
A Louisiana principal has found that short videos reinforce what’s happening in the classrooms.
8 min read
Tight crop of hands typing on a laptop overlaid with a window that includes a video play button and red progress bar.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Opinion To Have a Bigger Impact, Here's What You Should Stop Doing in Your Classroom or School
Teachers and leaders often want to lighten their load, but don't know where to start.
6 min read
shutterstock 1051475696
Shutterstock