Gov. Bill Haslam announces state to partner with Vanderbilt to train school leaders

All rights reserved, Gov. Bill Haslam

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a new preparation program to build a pipeline of highly-trained principals for schools across the state.

The state will work with Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of education and human development and local districts to nominate, select and train up to 30 participants a year in the school leadership program.

The program is aimed at closing achievement gaps in lower performing schools and maintaining high levels of achievement for all students.

Gov. Bill Haslam
Gov. Bill Haslam (State of Tennessee)

“Principals are responsible for hiring and retaining great teachers, being the instructional leaders of their schools, creating positive learning environments and managing complex operations within their buildings,” Haslam said. “Successful organizations have great leaders at the top, and one of the most important things we can do to transform our schools is to have each one led by a great principal.”

“Tennessee has many great principals already, and we want even more,” Haslam added. “There are also some important efforts already underway in the state around principal preparation, but I want to thank Vanderbilt University for working with us on this significant step toward using an innovative approach to strengthen education in Tennessee.”

Local districts will nominate candidates for the program and provide placement during the program as assistant or associate principals with effective principal mentors.

Peabody College, the No. 1 ranked education school in the country, will combine in-person and online instruction with mentor training and a school-based clinical experience to train future school leaders.

Camilla Benbow (John Russell/Vanderbilt)

“Tennessee has become a test-bed for school improvement, and Peabody College has long been a resource for leadership practices in education,” said Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Peabody. “We are excited to engage with promising school leaders statewide to help close achievement gaps and strengthen Tennessee schools.”

The program will use identified best practices and promote the use of these practices in other existing leadership preparation programs. It will reside in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, which will spearhead planning and implementation for Peabody.

“We are gratified to partner with the state to continue to develop innovative approaches to leadership development that are uniquely aligned with the state’s reform initiatives,” Ellen Goldring, Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair and chair of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, said. “This program provides an opportunity for networks of collaboration that will design and implement models for  school leadership preparation, which are so essential for school improvement.”

Media contacts: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS

David Smith, Governor’s Office, (615) 741-3763