Ten CMSD principals-in-waiting won't be on their own for another 13 months but are already getting a taste of the challenges they will face.
The first class in the District's new
Developing outstanding leaders is a key element of The Cleveland Plan, the District's state-approved blueprint for reform. The "summer intensive," as the boot camp is aptly known, will gird the new principals by bombarding them with challenges from a fictional school,
"We have to work together to have them ready to take on a hard-to-staff school in
The class of six women and four men were selected from among 153 applicants. Four came up in the ranks with the District, two are from elsewhere in
Their backgrounds are diverse. Two were offered the chance to immediately take over CMSD schools but chose to become better grounded. One worked as a registered nurse before teaching special education. Some have state principal's licenses; others will obtain alternative certification after gaining administrative experience.
NYCLA, formerly the
"We're doing a simulation of a real school in
Matlovsky had on her best stone face Monday during, "Connections," a daily opening discussion that will allow the participants to express thoughts, feelings or questions linked to their work.
She announced the start of the session and then waited through awkward silence. When
"It's uncomfortable," said Bryan, an
The group then divided into two teams that will spend the five weeks analyzing
The trainees were introduced to "staff" on Monday, with visitors playing the roles of teachers, an administrative assistant and an academic superintendent, each with their particular nuances and agendas. On Thursday, aspiring principals will be summoned individually to speak with angry "parents."
Throughout the boot camp, observers will quietly take notes and measure the aspiring principals' performance. Purnell said she did not expect anyone to quit, but the District wants to see signs of resilience.
"Resilience is absolutely critical," said Purnell, who will be succeeded next week by the academy's first director, former Tremont Montessori Principal
"You have to have a calling and a passion," he said. "With this cohort of people, we have the passion to deliver."
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