The University Principal Preparation Initiative Podcast

The University Principal Preparation Initiative Podcast

The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) PodcastThis podcast chronicles the multi-year principal program redesign initiative undertaken by the Wallace Foundation: The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), in which seven principal preparation programs were partnered with districts, state policymakers, and a mentor program. The AACTE Presents: The University Principal Preparation Initiative, highlights key insights and innovations from several of those programs through interviews with UPPI directors and prep program consumers at both the student and district levels. This podcast is designed to inspire learning opportunities and educational partnerships among AACTE members and stakeholders, to create highly trained and qualified principals who will influence and shape their learning communities.

Episode 1: Why Focus on Principals?

School leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors in its impact on student learning, according to research. The Wallace Foundation’s Knowledge Center on School Leadership includes decades of research and institutional knowledge on the principalship, and with the ever present focus on improving schools in our country, the findings from its multi-year initiative to redesign principal preparation programs couldn’t be more timely. In this first episode, AACTE talks to Rochelle Herring, a senior program officer in education at The Wallace Foundation, with extensive experience working with school districts in various roles about they “why” behind investing in the principalship as an effective and strategic way to multiply positive student outcomes. Read the full report of the Launch of the University Principal Pipeline Initiative (UPPI) .

Episode 2: Gaps in the Journey to Becoming a Principal

While the role of the principal remains essential, it has evolved over time. Throughout its evolvement, preparation programs, districts and state policy makers have worked in silos, creating gaps between the skills learned in an educator leadership program and what a principal actually does at their job. In this episode, we learn what the research says about what the gaps between “learning” and “doing” are and how to address them. Then we hear about how those findings are seen and implemented through the eyes of one of the University Principal Preparation Initiative’s project director, Tim Drake, an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at NC State University. Drake completed his Ph.D. in education policy studies at Vanderbilt University, and he has an M.Ed. in international education policy and management from Vanderbilt and a B.A. in history teaching from Brigham Young University. He studies the policies and practices that influence the effectiveness of school leaders. Specifically, Drake works at the intersection of research, policy, and practice to inform the ways in which school leaders are trained and supported. His current research projects include educator data use, leadership preparation and development, early grades/pre-K leadership, and turnaround school leadership.

Episode 3: Competencies Close Gaps in Leadership Prep

In our last episode, we dove into identifying the gaps between “learning” and “doing”, highlighting the work of University Principal Preparation Initiative.  We learned that through thoughtful planning using frameworks developed by Wallace to address the growing need for more collaboration between districts and universities.  In this episode, we’re going to dive into a case study of how one UPPI program at University of Connecticut and what they’ve learned from their program redesign. We spoke at length with Richard Gonzalez, who oversees the principalship and superintendency program at UConn and serves as the director of UConn’s UPPI initiative project, specifically about the redesign of their core assessments. Dr. Gonzalez and current program candidate Symone James, explain the core assessments, how they were tied to clinical practice and what that structure accomplished in closing the “learning” and “doing” gap of principal preparation.  

Episode 4: Districts & Programs Collaborate in Commitment to Equity

Principal Preparation Programs serve two major consumers, the candidate’s that enter their programs and the districts that hire them.  Therefore, it is essential to align program redesign efforts to district needs, which we have learned vary across the state.  Today we talk to Dr. Franciso Edobedo, Superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), located in southern San Diego County, to learn what superintendents are looking for in principals and other school leaders entering the field, and again with Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, about why and how prep programs should work with districts like Dr. Escobedo’s.  Their collaboration led to various redesign improvements over the course of Wallace’s UPPI Initiative, but in this episode, we dive deeper into how they were able to share, evaluate and act on data through an equitable lens.

Episode 5: A Sustainable Approach to Customizing Clinical Practice

Dr. David Lorden and Dr. Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda from San Diego State University share how principal preparation programs can restructure to meet the array of needs required by various districts.  They share insights from their own experiences as faculty during UPPI when it comes to diversifying the clinical experiences of candidates through collaborative redesign with the districts.

Episode 6: Redesigning Instructional Leadership Training.

As 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 principals often have skill gaps when providing instructional coaching. In the sixth episode of AACTE’s podcast covering the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), we discuss what the research says about instructional leadership, and how one UPPI program, Albany State, addressed the gaps in preparing their principal candidates to be effective at it.

Episode 7: Leveraging State Partnerships Throughout Redesign.

We’ve talked a lot about the district’s role in preparing principles, but what is the state’s role? In this episode we speak with authors of Wallace commissioned reports covering state policy What levers can the states pull to support quality principal training, and why doing so is essential.

School Leadership Resources

Several organizations and associations provide resources for research, guidance, and tools that you can use to develop your school leadership course work and ensure programs are effective at meeting the needs of today’s PK-12 learners.

The Wallace Foundation – School Leadership More than a decade’s worth of school leadership research.

University Council for Educational Administration This consortium of higher education institutions is committed to advancing the preparation and practices of effective educational leaders.

Center for Educational Leadership – University of Washington This center provides support to staff at every level of a school district to improve the principal pipeline.

National Association of Elementary School Principals NAESP supports elementary school principals with professional development opportunities.

National Association of Secondary School Principals NASSP provides resources and professional development to school leaders in middle schools and high schools.

Principal Preparation Webinars

What Should High-Quality Principal Preparation Programs Look Like
Watch the Webinar

From Teacher to Principal: Educational Leadership Tracking System
Watch the Webinar

Successful University and District Partnerships for Preparing Principals
Watch the Webinar

The Challenges and Successes of Principal Recruitment and Retention
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