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AACTE/UPPI Podcast Explores ‘Redesigning Instructional Leadership Training’

UPPI Podcast logoAs the role of the principal evolves, so too does the extent to which they play the role of instructional leader. As a vital part of student outcomes and teacher retention in schools, it’s alarming that new principal often have skill gaps when providing instructional coaching. Teacher retention is due largely in part to the support of their principal, which is why AACTE continues to advocate for quality education leadership preparation programming. 

In the sixth episode of AACTE’s podcast covering the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), AACTE talks to Jason Grissom, author of How Principals Affect Students and Schools, about what the research says regarding instructional leadership. The episode also dives into Albany State UPPI program’s efforts to address the gaps in preparing principal candidates to be effective instructional coaches with UPPI Project Director Janice Carthon, and Felisa McDavid, who is a graduate of Albany State’s principal prep program and principal of St. James Elementary in South Carolina.

Listen now to Episode 6: Redesigning Instructional Leadership Training


Janis CarthonJanis Carthon is a professor and served as coordinator of the Educational Leadership Program at Albany State University, Albany, Georgia.  She has more than 25 years of teaching and leadership experience in higher education in her professional interest areas of mathematics, statistics, research, technology, and leadership.  Prior to her current position, she served as a director of one of Georgia’s 13 Educational Technology Centers that supported 14 school systems and other education agencies in southwest Georgia.  She currently serves as the director of assessments and the project director of the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) at Albany State University.

Felisa Grant McDavidFelisa Grant McDavid received a B.S. degree in elementary education from the College of Charleston and a master’s degree in School Administration from Cambridge College. She received an Education Specialist degree in educational leadership from Albany State University. McDavid enjoyed 14 rewarding years as an elementary and middle school teacher in the Lowcountry and Midlands regions of South Carolina. She began her administrative career in 2006 as an elementary school assistant principal in Horry County Schools. In 2014, McDavid was named the principal of St. James Elementary School.  She continues to serve as principal of this award-winning school in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In addition, as a board member of the South Carolina Institute of Poverty and Deprivation, McDavid is able to serve underprivileged, underserved communities throughout the state of South Carolina. 

Jason A. GrissomJason A. Grissom is a Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Public Policy and Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and faculty director of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance. Grissom’s research uses large-scale administrative and survey data—often coupled with data from interviews and observations—to study school leadership, educator mobility, and issues of educational equity. He is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed articles on such topics as principal hiring, evaluation, turnover, preparation, and effectiveness; the distribution of leadership quality; and the impacts of a racially and ethnically diverse principal workforce. These articles have appeared in such outlets as American Educational Research Journal, Educational Administration Quarterly, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Journal of Human Resources. A fellow of the American Educational Research Association, Grissom’s research has been supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, the Wallace Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation, among others. He holds a Ph.D. in political economics and M.A. in education from Stanford University.



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