District and University Partnerships:
Growing the Next Generation of Leaders for High-Needs Schools
Ms. Emily Rycroft, Mr. Christopher Burnette and Dr. Barbara Zwadyk led a round table discussion on Sunday, August 5th, during ICPEL’s Annual Conference held in Charlotte, NC and sponsored by High Point University.
Leadership matters; school leadership is second only to classroom instruction as an influence on student learning (Roach, Smith, & Boutin, 2011; Marzano and Waters, 2005). Recognizing the need to improve development of principals in order to build out a deteriorating pipeline, the General Assembly in North Carolina established a competitive grant program to transform how principals are developed and certified. The grant called for organizations to partner with school districts to recruit and select candidates, to educate and train them, and to assess their attributes, skills, and capacity.
To meet these requirements, the university established strong collaborative efforts with affiliates and school districts, revised curricula, added experiential learning, executive coaches, and a full-time internship, focusing on instructional leadership, talent development, positive school culture, organizational best practices, and change for continuous. (NCASLD Principal Preparation Program Request for Proposals, 2016, p. 4). There is a refined focus on social justice, equity, and the social-emotional domain. Both an advisory and principal leadership team provide input and direction for the program.
During the round table discussion, Dr. Zwadyk, Ms. Rycroft and Mr. Burnette shared lessons learned, adjustments made, and solicited input for continuous improvement.