For Texas’ Cypress-Fairbanks school district, the practice of providing a coach to each new and early-career principal has been a model that’s proven successful. The district, which serves some 116,000 students, is hiring principals year-round for a challenging role marked by heavy turnover. Sage Papaioannou, principal at Hamilton Elementary School in Cypress, Texas, has found the support of her coach, Donna Sheppard, a former assistant superintendent in the district, critical in her early years as principal. Here, they discuss the dynamics of their relationship, and the benefits of that level of one-on-one support.
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