Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a new preparation program to build a pipeline of highly-trained principals for schools across the state.
The state will work with Vanderbilt University and local districts to nominate, select and train up to 30 participants a year in the school leadership program.
The program is aimed at closing achievement gaps in lower performing schools and maintaining high levels of achievement for all students.
"Principals are responsible for hiring and retaining great teachers, being the instructional leaders of their schools, creating positive learning environments and managing complex operations within their buildings," Haslam said. "Successful organizations have great leaders at the top, and one of the most important things we can do to transform our schools is to have each one led by a great principal."
"Tennessee has many great principals already, and we want even more," Haslam added. "There are also some important efforts already underway in the state around principal preparation, but I want to thank Vanderbilt University for working with us on this significant step toward using an innovative approach to strengthen education in Tennessee."
Local districts will nominate candidates for the program and provide placement during the program as assistant or associate principals with effective principal mentors.
Vanderbilt University, which has the No. 1 ranked education school in the country in Peabody College, will combine in-person and online instruction with mentor training and a school-based clinical experience to train future school leaders.
"Tennessee has become a test-bed for school improvement, and Peabody College has long been a resource for leadership practices in education," said Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Peabody. "We are excited to engage with promising school leaders statewide to help close achievement gaps and strengthen Tennessee schools."
The program will use identified best practices and promote the use of these practices in other existing leadership preparation programs.