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Wallace Foundation Author Joins Panel on University Principal Preparation Programs at Washington Week

Understanding principal preparation programs and their benchmarks for quality is a critical aspect of AACTE’s current work. Principals’ leadership plays an essential role in schools’ success, and school leader preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success. AACTE partners with the Wallace Foundation to disseminate and contextualize Wallace knowledge for our Educator Preparation stakeholders. As part of Washington Week’s (June 6-8) Educator Shortage Strand, AACTE is proud to have Rebecca (Becki) Herman, senior policy researcher and education policy chair at the RAND, present research on the Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative.

Redesigning University Principal Preparation Programs is one of two comprehensive studies on principal learning – both preparation and professional development – commissioned by The Wallace Foundation this year. This report, authored by Herman, Susan M. Gates, Ashley Woo, Elaine Lin Wang, Tiffany Berglund, Jonathan Schweig, Megan Andrew, and Ivy Todd of the RAND Corporation reports on findings from a Wallace-funded five-year initiative in which seven universities worked with school districts, state education agencies, mentor programs, and others to redesign their principal preparation programs to reflect the best available evidence-based practices. 

“Past research shows that successful principal preparation programs should include partnerships with districts,” said Herman, lead author on the report. “Our report illustrates such engagement is feasible, valuable and critical to creating these programs.”

Contributing their expertise to the University Principal Preparation Program discussion is David Cooper, director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) and Monica Byrne-Jimenez, executive director of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) and associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University.

Herman specializes in conducting and evaluating rigorous impact and implementation studies on principal development and effectiveness, comprehensive school reform, positive behavioral interventions, and related school, district, and higher education initiatives. She serves as Principal Investigator of the study of the Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative, as well as a randomized controlled trial of Restorative Justice and PBIS in a large school district. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology, specializing in education, at Johns Hopkins University.

Monica Byrne-Jimenez, as executive director of UCEA, represents more than 100 educational leadership programs across the country and works with them-and other national partners-to further the field and strengthen educational leadership preparation. Her scholarship focuses on Latinx identity and educational leadership, early career leadership development, impact of faculty diversity on doctoral student experiences and the role of alternative research methodologies in research and leadership. She was a public-school bilingual educator and literacy specialist in New York City and consultant on district improvement before becoming faculty.

David Cooper assumed the leadership of EARN in October 2021, after serving as senior economic analyst and EARN deputy director. As EARN director, Cooper works to expand the network’s reach and deepen its impact by strengthening partnerships between EARN groups and grassroots organizations, labor unions, and community advocates. Cooper has been a member of the EARN team at EPI (Economic Policy Institute) since 2011, serving as an economic analyst before becoming senior analyst and deputy director.

Effective Principals Retain Teachers: Redesigning University Principal Preparation Programs in Partnership with State Education Agencies will take place June 7 from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. EST during Washington Week.

Register today for AACTE’s Washington Week conference.

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Brooke Evans

Assistant Director, Development & Professional Learning