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Contact: Alan Richard
(404) 879-5544
Released: 5/4/2011

State Leaders Gather at SREB Forum on Strengthening School Leaders Across the Region

ATLANTA – Nearly 100 leaders from 16 states — from Texas to New York — are meeting here this week for the Southern Regional Education Board’s eighth annual forum on school leadership, focusing this year on actions states and school districts can take to develop existing public school principals and build a bench of future leaders who can raise student achievement.

The Leadership Forum will be at the Embassy Suites Atlanta-Airport from noon until 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, and continue on Friday, May 6, from 8 a.m. until noon.

Just a few years ago, school principals were expected to be administrators. Today, that focus has shifted. SREB’s Learning-Centered Leadership Program — the conference host — prepares aspiring principals and school leadership teams to create school cultures of success, work closely with teachers, and aggressively lead improvement in curriculum, instruction and academic performance.

"The South has improved the way we prepare school leaders, but finding principals with the skills to turn around struggling schools is still a challenge," said Gene Bottoms, SREB’s senior vice president for school improvement, who oversees the program. "Too many states still lag behind in high school graduation rates, and too many students leave high school unprepared to succeed in higher education or the workplace. A new brand of school leadership can help change that."

State leaders, higher education officials and other participants will explore many strategies to help school leaders drive improvement, including:

  • succession planning to develop a pipeline of talented principals.
  • developing and supporting middle grades and secondary school principals.
  • improving evaluation systems for principals.

Among other topics, participants will discuss models for developing principals, designing principal-preparation programs outside of the traditional university, better district support for principals, and assessment of accomplished principals for National Certification (similar to that for teachers).

The keynote speaker will be Jody Spiro, senior education program officer for The Wallace Foundation. Other scheduled speakers and panelists include; SREB Senior Vice President Gene Bottoms; Kathy O’Neill, director of the SREB Learning-Centered School Leadership Program; Joan Auchter, chief program officer for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; Myra Whitney, associate superintendent of Memphis City Schools; Ellen Goldring, chair of the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College; Gale Hulme, executive director of the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement; Julius Koenigsknecht, EXCEL project director at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University; and Brian Riedlinger, president and CEO of The School Leadership Center of Greater New Orleans.

SREB’s Learning-Centered Leadership Program works directly with states, colleges and universities, school districts and others to improve the quality and training of school leaders. Last year, the program began offering many of its intensive training workshops online.

The program has been working closely with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards as it prepares the highly anticipated Accomplished Principal Certification.

To attend the forum or learn more about your state’s progress in improving school leadership, contact SREB Communications.

SREB, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, advises state education leaders on ways to improve education. SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB has 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Each is represented by its governor and four gubernatorial appointees.

Southern Regional Education Board
592 10th Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30318-5776
(404) 875-9211

For additional information, please e-mail communications@sreb.org