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Governor’s Academy for School Leadership launches at Peabody College

The first gathering of the Governor's Academy took place Saturday, Feb. 20, at Peabody College. (Anne Rayner/Vanderbilt)

Twenty-four aspiring principals from across the state have begun participating in the inaugural Governor’s Academy for School Leadership (GASL).

First announced by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in late 2013, GASL is a partnership between the state of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of education and human development, and local school districts to build a pipeline of highly-trained school principals and ultimately improve school effectiveness and performance and unlock educational opportunities for all students.

“Successful organizations have great leaders at the top, so one of the most important things we can do to transform our schools is to have each one led by a great principal. Tennessee already has a lot of great principals, and we want even more,” Haslam said. “I appreciate these school leaders – both the assistant principals participating and the principals serving as mentors – making this commitment to their communities and our state and Vanderbilt for partnering with us to create this pipeline of great school leadership in Tennessee.”

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen addressed the Governor's Academy cohort at Peabody College's Wyatt Center. (Anne Rayner/Vanderbilt)

Each assistant principal selected for the one-year fellowship has been paired with an experienced principal mentor. In addition to training sessions one weekend a month and a week-long summer institute at Vanderbilt, participants will intern three days a month at his/her mentor’s school and receive six individual coaching sessions with a trained regional coach. Upon completion of the academy, participants will be expected to pursue placement as a school principal in their district or region.

“Peabody College is committed to developing effective leaders for Tennessee schools and the students they serve,” said Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development. “We are excited to work with Governor Haslam and the Department of Education to offer our expertise and experience to further strengthen education across the state.”

Participants were nominated by their district’s director of schools and selected through an application and interview process conducted by representatives from the Governor’s Office, the Tennessee Department of Education and Vanderbilt.

“Strong school administration plays an integral role in student success, and it is our honor to further develop the leadership of these dedicated individuals,” TDOE Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “Both the fellows and their mentors represent excellence in their profession, and we are proud to provide a pathway so they can continue serving the districts and students in our state.

View a list of the first class of GASL participants and mentors.