UWG to Train Gwinnett’s Future Principals

Monday, December 12, 2011

The University of West Georgia is working with the state’s largest school district to develop a corps of effective principals and leaders. Gwinnett County Public Schools recently received a $12.5 million, six-year grant from the Wallace Foundation to develop a “principal pipeline.”

The University of West Georgia is working with the state’s largest school district to develop a corps of effective principals and leaders. Gwinnett County Public Schools recently received a $12.5 million, six-year grant from the Wallace Foundation to develop a “principal pipeline.”In the ULead partnership, faculty from UWG’s Department of Leadership and Applied Instruction will travel to Gwinnett to teach the would-be principals and identify potential leaders. Candidates will receive Ed.S. degrees or the L6 leadership certificate.  The first class begins in January with 36 candidates.

UWG was a natural choice for Gwinnett said Dr. Glenn Pethel, the executive director of leadership development, at the district’s Quality-Plus Leader Academy. Gwinnett and UWG have been collaborating for years, he said.

“It was not by accident that we immediately sought out the University of West Georgia. We know personally of the quality of work,” Pethel said during a lunchtime gathering of the educators and the ULead Institute Advisory Council on Dec. 12. “We’re really excited about this partnership and looking forward to great things, not only for Gwinnett, but for the entire country.”

Gwinnett is also working with the University of Georgia and the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI).

It was among six public school districts to receive funding from the Wallace Foundation. The philanthropic foundation wants to find out if the “districts can create pipelines that produce a large number of highly-qualified principals and whether student achievement rises as a result,” according to a statement from the Wallace Foundation.

Dr. Kim Metcalf, Dean of the College of Education, said UWG’s educational leadership program is one of the most innovative in the state.  

“It’s completely job-embedded and completely performance based,” Metcalf said. Working with Gwinnett will allow UWG to expand this model so that it can serve more educators and identify potential leaders.

UWG was “one of the early leaders in looking at what principals needed to know in order to be effective leaders in schools,” said Linda Daniels, the director of leadership development for Gwinnett schools.

“They have always wanted to be at the table with us when we were making decisions about leader development and what we thought our new leaders needed.”

In the first year of the partnership, UWG receives about $400,000 from the grant.