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UCPS 'grows leaders' from within with completion of first cohort

Pictured are, (seated from left) Shannen Bretz, PRMS; Kathleen Richert, PRHS; Kim Fisenne, MRHS; Bryan Lynip, Unionville Elementary; (standing from left), Emily McGinnis, Prospect and Union Elementary; Ann Salazar, Poplin Elementary; Veronica Robinson, Antioch Elementary; Mamie Blevins, Piedmont Middle; Dr. Deborah Whaley, Marvin Elementary; Constance Kelly, Walter Bickett Elementary; and Dr. Ken Hoover, principal at East Union Middle.

Ten Union County Public Schools assistant principals have successfully completed the first “Growing Leaders From Within” program, designed to help them step into the principalship.

The 10 graduates, the first for the program, were awarded their certificates of completion at the close of their last class.

“The fact that you’ve been through this program is a feather in your cap,” said UCPS Superintendent Dr. Ed Davis at the close of the program. “This will be something that you will be able to put on your resume if you apply for a leadership role that will definitely be considered.”

The concept of Growing Leaders From Within came from UCPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. David Clarke who had been looking for a way to fill the void for aspiring principals that was left after the PEP program (Principals Executive Program), disappeared a few years ago from lack of funding by the state.

“It turned out even better than I had imagined,” Clarke said. “It’s been about preparing these folks for that next level. Even if they don’t move to the next level of a principalship, the program is designed to make them better assistant principals.”

The program’s organizer, Dr. Ken Hoover, principal at East Union Middle School, said he was very pleased with the 10 assistant principals who completed the first cohort. “I hope they feel more prepared to transition into the principalship,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to help them put themselves in a situation where they are ready to apply for a principalship, and also to help them have a smooth transition into that role.”

Bryan Lynip, assistant principal at Unionville Elementary, said he benefited a great deal from the program. “It’s been a fantastic experience. Dr. Hoover has done a fantastic job of bringing people in from our system and outside of our system to share with us what it’s really like – boots on the ground kind of advice. They’ve been very candid, very open and helpful, and mission-minded.”

The cohort members were celebrated at a small reception held at the PDC to honor their completion of the first cohort. “I want to congratulate you and encourage you to continue to look for growth opportunities,” Davis said. “Take the knowledge you gained through this experience and don’t look at it as an end point; look at it as a platform to expand your knowledge even more.”

In July the second round of assistant principals will be chosen to begin Cohort Two. It will also have 10 participants.

The yearlong program starts with a weeklong summer institute and then the group meets two half days a month throughout the school year.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: May 11, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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