Haslam Discusses Plans For Statewide Leadership Academy Network

Press Release

By:  Bill Haslam
Date: Oct. 1, 2010
Location: Maryville, TN

Holds Roundtable Meeting With East Tennessee Principals

Republican gubernatorial nominee and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam today led a roundtable discussion with principals from Maryville and Blount County school systems in East Tennessee. Mayor Haslam discussed his focus on school leadership and reiterated his plans to develop a statewide leadership academy network that will help ensure every school is led by a highly effective principal.

Mayor Haslam explained that this statewide network will allow existing principal preparation networks to coordinate their efforts, share best practices, and work together to ensure effective implementation of new state standards for principal selection, training and licensure.

"I believe we should have a school by school approach to education reform," continued Haslam. "And the best way to strengthen individual schools is by making sure each is led by a highly effective principal."

"From my years in business, I know that every location needs a well-trained leader working on-site with enough autonomy to make good decisions--a leader who can be held accountable for the operation under his or her supervision," Haslam added.

After speaking to two government classes at Heritage High School, Mayor Haslam sat down with a group of elementary, middle and high school principals to discuss school leadership. The group discussed issues ranging from professional development for principals to the new state standards for principal preparation programs being implemented based on the State Board of Education's Learning Centered Leadership Policy, which also includes requirements for greater collaboration between individual preparation programs and local districts.

Mayor Haslam described his plan for a statewide network of leadership academies -- first announced in May of this year -- that would help principal preparation programs work together to overcome the challenges related to implementing the new standards and share best practices for providing candidates with meaningful field experience and developing strong partnerships with local districts.

"As governor, I will focus on improving the leadership development pipeline so that the best candidates are selected, the best training is provided and the leadership needs of local school districts are met by a crop of highly effective principals," Haslam said.