• Urban Educator logo

Philadelphia and Dallas Launch Programs to Help Aspiring Principals

  • Two big-city school districts recently launched programs that aim to increase the ranks of minority principals, while providing them with the support and skills they need to excel.

    The School District of Philadelphia is partnering with Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania to launch a new leadership program to increase the representation of Black, Latino or Latino(a), and Asian principals in the district.

    The Pathways to Leadership program will offer $25,000 to current Philadelphia school district employees to complete certification courses at either university. The educators will also receive traditional certification preparation classwork, coaching, and mentorship.

    The program aims to promote diversity among principals and assistant principals in the district and targets specifically existing educators within the school district.

    “School leaders are among the most important leaders in the entire city, and our district and students deserve a strong pipeline of qualified and well-trained individuals capable of leading our schools,” said Michael Farrell, deputy chief of leadership for the School District of Philadelphia.

    The Pathway to Leadership Principal Preparation Program is the fourth district program aimed at preparing and strengthening school leaders and working with individuals for pre-certification. 

    Dallas Grows Its Own Principals

    Dallas Independent School District recently launched its own one-year principal residency program, which pairs aspiring principals with an experienced principal to serve as their mentor.

    “The residency is an opportunity for in-the-moment professional development, to grow and learn,” said Jacob Nunez, an assistant principal and resident in the program, in a story that was featured on the district’s news website the hub.

    This year’s residents are all people of color — with four African American males and one female, one Latino and one Latina, which helps with the district’s goal of creating opportunities for equity.

    The residents meet once a month at the district’s central office for class before shadowing their mentors on the inner workings of a principal that they might not have learned as an assistant principal or in graduate programs.

    The program’s director Martha Bujanda hopes that the program results in the residents becoming principals of their own schools. “The district has invested a significant amount of time, money, and talent in ensuring that we’re growing our best and building our own pipeline,” said Bujanda. “We believe in our own, and the district has created the program to develop and grow our own.”

    The Dallas program was modeled after a similar program in Denver Public Schools, where the residents exchange experiences throughout the year and develop specific competencies.