$5.5 million Wallace Foundation grant goal is to train better principals

Albany State University Leadership Project Coordinator Janis Carthon gave the Dougherty County School Board an update Wednesday on the status of a $5.5 million leadership grant ASU received from the Wallace Foundation. (File Photo)

ALBANY — The Dougherty County School Board awarded a five-year $608,812 contract during its monthly meeting Wednesday to Hoonuit for a leadership tracking system in collaboration with Albany State University, the Calhoun County School System, Pelham city schools, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Gwinnett County Public Schools Quality-Plus Leader Academy, and NYC Leadership Academy for their participation in the University Principal Preparation Initiative supported by The Wallace Foundation.

The Leadership Academy is intended to gather data from districts and teacher prep programs on principals for use across a wide spectrum of planning and career development. The goal is to produce better principals across the southwest Georgia region.

Since October 2016, representatives from each school district, three state education agencies (GaPSC, Georgia Department of Education, and the University System of Georgia), and partner providers have worked collaboratively with administrators and faculty at ASU to develop an innovative principal preparation program that meets the needs of local school districts and sets the national pace.

That year, The Wallace Foundation awarded ASU and its three district partners, its state partner (GaPSC), and its exemplary partner providers a $5.5 million grant over a five-year period to design a model program that will prepare exceptional educational leaders for southwest Georgia and beyond.

Representatives have participated in various activities associated with the grant, including monthly professional learning community meetings, specialized training sessions and national meetings with Wallace Foundation officials. The UPPI is currently in its second year.

“While the first year was dedicated to developing partnerships, aligning Georgia educational leadership standards to national leader standards, and revising the curriculum; clinical practice will be the primary focus for year two,” said Janis Carthon, project director and associate professor in the ASU College of Education. “This award is all about the Dougherty County School System and how we educate future school leaders, not just in Albany, but across the state and the nation. We know these new principal initiatives have worked in urban areas, but our challenge is to see if we can make them work in rural areas, too. The big question is why do we have such poor performing schools?

“I think we can solve that with better leadership.”

The DCSS will incur one-third of all costs provided in Hoonuit’s bid. The system will then invoice each of the participating districts individually.

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