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  • AACTE 70th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD

Webinar Nov. 9: How Principals Build, Sustain Healthy School Cultures

Please join us Thursday, November 9, at 3:00 Eastern for the third free webinar in the series we’ve organized for AACTE on principal leadership, with support from The Wallace Foundation.

Great school culture starts with strong leadership and builds a context for excellence in every area of the school. Fostering open relationships at all levels, principals are at the heart of building and sustaining a healthy school culture. This webinar, Principals as Transformation Leaders: Changing School Cultures, will feature school leaders who have successfully worked to create a positive school culture that promotes learning and acceptance for all.

Topics will include –

  1. Developing a healthy school culture
  2. Advice to new principals entering a toxic culture
  3. Starting positive dialogue about public education with community members
  4. Engaging experienced faculty and staff in a changing culture

Register here to hear from the following presenters:

Kathy Mackay is principal at Poudre High School in Fort Collins, Colorado. After earning her bachelor’s degree in technical journalism and communication at Colorado State University, she began her career as a reporter and anchor for a local news station, then took a position as a video producer and communications assistant for the Poudre School District. It’s there she learned that her true passion was working with kids. Mackay returned to CSU for a teaching endorsement in social studies and was soon hired at Poudre High School to teach IB Humanities, U.S. history, and video production. Following a brief stint elsewhere as a junior high school assistant principal, she returned to Poudre in 2008 as an assistant principal and became principal in 2013.


Eileen Mooney Cambria is an elementary principal in the northern New Jersey suburbs. This year marks her 11th year at Franklin School, which serves 595 students from first through fifth grade. Her career also includes 6 years as an assistant principal and 12 years as an elementary classroom teacher. As an administrator, she has participated in new teacher mentor programs for 17 years. Cambria earned a doctoral degree in educational administration, leadership, and supervision from Seton Hall University (NJ) and a bachelor of science degree from St. John’s University (NY).


Stephen Droske also leads a suburban elementary school in northern New Jersey. This is his first year as principal of Thomas Jefferson School, serving 275 students from preschool to fifth grade. His prior experience includes 4 years as a middle school dean of students and vice principal as well as 10 years as a middle school social studies teacher. Droske received his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Rutgers University (NJ) and his bachelor’s degree in political science and secondary education from American University (DC). He is currently working on completing his doctorate in educational leadership at Rutgers. His research is on how schools create and make use of student performance data.

In the previous webinar of the series held October 26 (archived here in the AACTE Resource Library), “Principals as Transformation Leaders: Serving Urban, Rural, and Alternative Settings,” presenters shared how principals’ jobs are impacted by their specific settings. Among the various challenges discussed by the panel, many were similar despite the big differences in school environments. Assistant Principal Mackenzie Grate spoke about the challenges in recruiting teachers out of Manhattan to travel to her school in Brooklyn, New York, and the effects of inequitable resource distribution on smaller schools within large districts. Experienced principal Sammi Swennes also shared her challenges to recruit new educators—especially young, single teachers—to her school in rural Simla, Colorado, where social activities can be hours away. Allen Pratt of the National Rural Education Association talked about the power of strong mentors for new principals entering the profession in rural schools and using meaningful assessment to guide instruction in all settings—comments that resonated with both the other panelists for their settings as well.

Please also mark your calendar and register for the next webinar in our series: Principals as Transformation Leaders: High Quality Preservice Preparation, November 30 at 3:00 EST.


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Donna Cooner

Colorado State University

Wendy Fothergill

Colorado State University

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