Professional Development

Institute to Help Principals Meet New Challenges

By Karla Scoon Reid — January 08, 2003 1 min read
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California’s outgoing superintendent of public instruction will run a national organization designed to help school districts and states train principals to meet the challenges of standards-based education.

As the executive director of the new Washington-based National Institute for School Leadership, Delaine Eastin will oversee an intensive professional- development program for practicing principals. The goal is to better prepare principals to lead successful schools in a culture of high-stakes education.

Ms. Eastin, who was barred by law from running for a third term as California’s schools chief in November, will become the institute’s executive director on Feb. 1.

While the institute won’t have the capacity to educate an army of principals, Ms. Eastin said the group hopes to “influence leading schools of education to make some changes” in their approach to training school leaders.

The institute is a program of the National Center on Education and the Economy, a Washington nonprofit group that helps design standards-based education and training systems. The Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Broad Foundation, the New Schools Venture Fund, and the Stupski Family Foundation are supporting the effort.

Best Practices

The institute hopes to forge partnerships with school districts and states to train a cadre of key leaders to improve student performance in districts and across states. That team of leaders—which could include district administrators, university faculty members, and other principals—would be certified as institute instructors, who in turn would teach the curriculum to local principals.

Organizers say the curriculum, to be offered during workshops and seminars as well as on the Web, will cover a range of topics, including strategic thinking and standards-based instruction.

Marc S. Tucker, the president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, said the two-year executive-development program would blend the best practices of business and military training with educational leadership strategies. The institute hopes to start its first pilot training sessions this spring and summer.

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