Taking Principals to School

There’s a new program installed in Hamblen County schools that will develop tomorrow’s leaders.

Over the summer, the Hamblen County Department of Education started a Principals Preparation Program.

“It will prepare our candidates for any type of leadership role,” said Stephanie Dallmann, supervisors of assessments for Hamblen County schools.

Dallmann said the program began when Dr. Jeff Perry, superintendent of Hamblen County schools, came on board and asked if there were any type of preparation program.

The answer was no. So, the steps began.

“In the future, there was going to continue to be a need to have administrators ready to take the helm of schools,” she said.

The Department of Instruction started developing a program to fill the need to build principals for the future.

Dallmann said there are other districts with programs and there were programs that could be bought ready-made, but the Hamblen County school system decided to make their own program designed specifically for its teachers.

The framework for the started last spring. The school system conducted a two-day program over the summer.

The program will be yearlong, she said.

This year, there are a total of 16 candidates participating in the program.

A total of 27 people applied for the program.

The summer program established the framework and also talked about school culture.

Matt Drinnon, principal of John Hay Elementary School, talked to the candidates about how school culture works in the real world. Ricky Witt, principal of Meadowview Middle School, talked about student-teacher-principal relationships.

“We had a varety of topics tied to that framework,” Dallmann said.

There was also no guarantee that a school would have an applicant in the program.

“We had a couple of schools where there’s two people, we had a couple of schools where there’s none,” Dallmann said. “It was solely based on an application review process by supervisors and principals.”

Dallmann said each of the candidates are being prepared to lead in any setting.

“We’re not preparing an elementary school teacher for an elementary principal position, we’re preparing them for elementary, middle or high school,” Dallmann said.

All candidates will also job shadow other principals throughout the year.

The candidates will meet monthly for three hours outside the confines of the school.

Some topics of discussion include data, assessments and school scheduling.

“We want candidates who understand the different aspect of what it takes to be a good school leader,” Dallmann said. “And that’s more than just being a good manager.”