Working with Districts to Train Effective, Engaged Principals
The College of Education has expanded its principal preparation program to include a pathway to certification conducted in collaboration with area school districts. The Principal Leadership Fellows Program is a selective initiative where graduate students spend their second year working as full-time, paid administrative interns within sponsoring school districts.
“We recognize the critical impact that principals have on instruction and student outcomes, and the way we prepare our students is vital to their success and the success of their schools,” said Dr. Marla McGhee, associate professor of educational leadership. “This program provides practical, authentic and rigorous learning opportunities to develop problem-solving skills, promote relationship building and support strategies for academic progress.”
The idea for the Principal Leadership Fellows program blossomed five years ago when the educational leadership team retooled the master’s program to enhance the quality of pre-service training and mentoring for new principals. With a focus on personalized learning, mentoring and coaching, 10-15 candidates are selected each year following a highly selective application process and independent assessment. For those accepted into the Fellows program, tuition rates are significantly reduced thanks to the financial generosity of local philanthropists and foundations, as well as support from TCU.
“What sets this program apart is the way it explores tensions in the most current academic theory with ‘boots on the ground’ practices,” said Mike Mihalik, assistant principal at South Hills High School and member of Principal Leadership Fellows Cohort I. “It is designed for those who want to lead with both mind and heart.”