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Principal Pipeline Introductory Webinar Spurs Interest in Broader Connections

The first webinar in AACTE’s series on the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative drew some 110 participants last month. (The second, which will also be free of charge, will be held October 15; read Angela Sewall’s post about it here.) As they heard from the initiative’s panelists about their ongoing work to reform principal preparation through collaborations among higher education institutions and school districts, the webinar participants began to echo the presenters’ enthusiasm for the model’s potential if brought to a larger scale.

The webinar, Principal Pipeline Initiative: Laying the Foundation, was offered with support from the Wallace Foundation as part of its multiyear effort to strengthen the development and support of principals in large urban districts. For this event, participating district representatives Douglas W. Anthony (Prince George’s Public Schools, MD), Tricia McManus (Hillsborough County Public Schools, FL), and Kendra Washington-Bass (Gwinnett County Public Schools, GA) provided their insights and engaged in discussion with a faculty member, Mary B. Martin (Winthrop University, SC), to compare their experiences and to discuss goals and results from the partnership work. AACTE Vice President Rodrick Lucero served as host and moderator.

The most important change to come out of the initiative so far, said one panelist, is that it has created space for dialogue between the stakeholders. Indeed, all panelists agreed on the importance of this communication channel as a catalyst for all future changes. Through it, partners have been able to work across divides between departments and entities, align their visions, and find commonalities in their goals. “It is a daunting task to shift everything we’ve always done,” Martin said. But the six pilot districts knew they had to become much more intentional in providing experiences for aspiring leaders—and they’ve seen remarkable success already.

Asked to describe her biggest hope for the Principal Pipeline Initiative, Washington-Bass said she hoped it would extend beyond the initial six districts. “We’re all trying to do the same thing—no need for anyone to reinvent the wheel. It would be great to open up the conversation!” Anthony agreed, adding: “If we could turn this into collective practice, we could change the culture.”

Want to learn more about the innovative practices in the Principal Pipeline Initiative? The October 15 webinar focuses on building the partnerships; a third webinar will be held November 12 on assessing and enhancing commitment, and the final webinar in the free series will be held January 13 on expanding the framework. Learn more at aacte.org/webinars.

AACTE members may access a recording of the first webinar and a copy of its slide presentation by clicking here (login required).

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Hannah Maes

AACTE Marketing Coordinator Intern