Principals are working on becoming stronger leaders

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Last summer, 48 Kentucky principals participated in the Leadership Institute for School Principals in Greensboro, N.C.

This three-day event, funded by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the AT&T Foundation, worked with principals who were accepted into the program based on their leadership backgrounds and applications.

Two follow-up sessions will take place in October 2011 and February 2012.

Casey Jaynes, who is in his fourth year as principal at Logan County High School, said he has always been interested in leadership and leadership development.

“It is my goal to develop leaders for my school,” he said. “If you notice, our mission statement is ‘Challenging students today to be responsible leaders tomorrow.’ All of us are leaders at some point, in our homes, communities and workforce.”

James Meding, principal at East Bernstadt Elementary School (East Bernstadt Independent), was encouraged to sign up for the workshop by his superintendent.

“(I wanted) to better equip myself to be a ‘change’ leader in Kentucky schools, especially in my own district,” Meding said. “I personally gained a better perspective of how to be a more focused leader in my school by listening and fellowshipping with other teachers and the Center for Creative Leadership specialists.”

Jaynes said participants did several types of personality surveys and leadership inventories at the workshop.

“I learned that I have a great sense of responsibility for our school and our students,” Jaynes said. “While that may be a great thing, it can also hinder the growth of others.

“I was really surprised at how accurate the surveys were and that there were other principals in the state who share the same leadership traits,” Jaynes added.

“I was amazed at my overall scores in expressed behavior areas,” Meding said of the personality surveys. “The scores were much different than I would have thought.”

Since the training, both principals are integrating their newfound knowledge into daily practices.

“I have been paying more attention to relying on my leadership team and its decisions,” Jaynes said. “We must all be on the same page, and no one person can do it all for a school of this size. We have to perform better as a team, and knowing my personal leadership traits helps me when working with others in our school.”

“Since returning from the session and beginning this new school year, I have already had several opportunities to put into practice educational exercises that make my leadership more inviting and engaging to my peers,” Meding added. “I have learned to be more self-sufficient in my influence and in making decisions as a principal.”

The first follow-up session next month for the Leadership Institute for School Principals participants is themed “Navigating Change and Optimizing Conflict.” To learn more about this program and see a list of all participating Kentucky principals, click here.

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