Can they row alone? practices that grow and support beginning principals

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
John Michael Bryant (Creator)
Janice Cowan King (Creator)
Brett Alan Wilson (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Ann Allen

Abstract: Beginning principals struggle with the complexity of the job, the limits of theirinstructional impact, the loneliness of leadership, and the existing culture’s resistance tochange. This is a problem in Henderson County Public Schools, in school systems acrossthe state of North Carolina, and nationwide. This problem negatively impacts beginningprincipals and their respective school communities because they struggle to navigateschool leadership transitions, to sustain district initiatives, and to experience consistentindividual growth. Students and parents have a right to expect competency from a schoolprincipal regardless of their lack of tenure, and districts must decide to be proactive inaccelerating the skills on new administrators. Effective mentoring programs can hastenthe competency of new school leaders.Given the absence of legislation, policy, and funding for beginning principal support inNorth Carolina, Henderson County Public Schools implemented a model designed togrow the leadership capacity of beginning principals in order that the impact of their service is maximized. The design of this purposeful intervention strategically matchesbeginning principals with mentors, while providing opportunities for professional growththrough self-assessment, reflection, and group learning.Using a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle of improvement science, the scholarpractitionerscreated a scalable model for the mentoring of beginning principals.Experiencing the hire of six new principals in one school year, which markedapproximately 25% of the district’s school leadership, scholar-practitioners partneredwith the district to implement a structured support plan for these new administrators.Rather than leave their success to chance, Henderson County Public Schools recognizedand valued the importance of investing time and resources into leadership development.It is noteworthy that, following the period of initial research, the district has continuedwith and expanded the model of support. The results of this research inform not only thework of the partner school district, but also the practices of the current and futureleadership teams of North Carolina’s 115 systems, who guide over 2,400 principals asthey support more than 1.4 million students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Beginning Principals, Leadership, Mentoring, Professional Growth
First year school principals -- North Carolina -- Henderson County
Mentoring in education -- North Carolina -- Henderson County
School administrators -- Training of -- North Carolina -- Henderson County
School administrators -- In-service training -- North Carolina -- Henderson County
Educational leadership -- North Carolina -- Henderson County
School management and organization -- North Carolina -- Henderson County
Public schools -- North Carolina -- Henderson County

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