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Principals Leadership Academy

January 7, 2005

The Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency is sponsoring a year long series of leadership presentations and seminars for area principals, assistant principals, curriculum directors and central office administrators. The theme for the series is "Creating a School Culture of Continuous Improvement."

The keynote speaker for seven of the ten presentations is Dr. Todd Whitaker, Professor of Educational Leadership at Indiana State University. Dr. Whitaker is a nationally known speaker who addresses teachers and administrators on the issues of improved principal performance, positive school culture and more effective interpersonal relations within the organization. He has experience as a teacher, coach and building principal in the Missouri public school system. The administrators who have attended his presentations have been very impressed with his practical and persuasive methods for improving the operations of a school.

Dr. Whitaker’s position, and the research confirms this, is that the most effective principals take personal responsibility for the performance of the students and the organization; every adult in the school, including the custodian and cooks, is a teacher. The relationships that principals have with staff members, and relationships that teachers have with students and parents, can be enhanced with the use of effective communication tools and careful consideration of adult and student needs.

Teachers in the buildings served by PLA participants may have seen new newsletters written by principal to highlight positive achievements by students and teachers, clear information about school operations and carefully planned calendars. This practical communication tool, the Friday Focus, can have an immediate and lasting impact on improving school communication and school culture. This is one of many tools that Dr. Whitaker has shared with administrators.

In addition to Dr. Whitaker’s presentations, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency consultants have also produced a seminar for principals to assist them in building and improving faculty teams within the school. Consultants have also presented information on the Iowa Professional Development Model and how school districts can use the model to design and implement effective professional development.

The ultimate goal of the leadership training offered in the Principals Leadership Academy is improved student achievement. One the most important factors in meeting that goal is a well trained, passionate principal who does everything he or she can do to see that every student “gets over the bar.” The region is blessed with many very competent administrators who know that they must constantly learn if they are going ensure that every student succeeds in school

For more information, contact Dr. Lloyd C. Kilmer, School Improvement Consultant at the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency. Phone: (563) 344-6378.

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