- Gov. Gray Davis announced today (Tuesday, July 25) a $7.5
million private gift to support the Principal Leadership Institute
at the University of California, Berkeley. The program was
initiated this summer to provide leadership training for a
new generation of public school principals in California.
from Kenneth E. Behring, a Bay Area businessman and full-time
philanthropist, will greatly expand UC Berkeley's innovative
program in the coming years. The institute's goal is to prepare
educators to become effective leaders of California's urban
schools, where reform and improvement is most needed - but
also most difficult.
Leadership Institutes, based at UC Berkeley and UCLA, were
established by the University of California following the
governor's call last fall to bring world-class management
training to public school principals.
At UC Berkeley,
a 15-month program taught at the Graduate School of Education
is working in partnership with three California State University
campuses. The 28 students in the inaugural class began their
studies in June. They receive scholarships to cover educational
fees for their master's degrees and administrator credentials.
In return, upon graduation, the students pledge to work four
years in a leadership position at a public school.
are to renew the foundations of excellence in California's
public schools, then we must start by helping those who daily
face the greatest challenges - the principals of our urban
schools. With the governor's support and Ken Behring's generous
gift, more of our urban schools will receive the leadership
they deserve," said UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl.
establishes the Kenneth E. Behring Institute for Educational
Improvement. Over the next 10 years it will help support training
for approximately 750 new principals and significantly address
the shortage of trained leaders who can develop and implement
educational improvement in California's urban public schools.
always felt that there is a great need to support and inspire
the leadership within our schools. Today, principals need
a broader set of skills and more highly focused training,"
said Behring, a former owner of the Seattle Seahawks football
team and Bay Area land developer and founder of Wheelchairs
for the World Foundation.
efforts of the state of California, the University of California
at Berkeley and the private sector, will develop a significant
new training program aimed at preparing reform-oriented leaders,
committed first and foremost to improving teaching and learning
in their schools," he said.
program is part of the Urban Education Leadership Program
operated jointly by UC Berkeley and California State University
campuses at Hayward, San Francisco and San Jose.
can't get better without better principals," said Norton Grubb,
a UC Berkeley professor at the Graduate School of Education
and faculty coordinator for the Principal Leadership Institute.
"You can't put a reform into place if a principal doesn't
and other leaders need to prepare for urban school difficulties
such as higher dropout rates, poor teacher morale and school
climates that fail to assign high values to academic achievement,
courses including law, public policy, business and education
as well as fieldwork are offered four days a week during the
summer. During the regular school year, courses are offered
on more flexible schedules, allowing Principal Leadership
Institute students, most of them teachers in urban schools,
to continue their regular jobs. Many institute students are
"quite senior teachers" with areas of expertise such as bilingual
education, the arts, special education, high schools or parent
participation, Grubb said. They also have found themselves
gravitating into more executive roles, he said, although none
are full-time administrators.
work in urban school districts, and that's where they want
to stay because they feel that's where they can best influence
young students, Grubb said. Among the school districts represented
by students at the institute are San Francisco, Hayward, Oakland,
Berkeley, Pittsburg and West Contra Costa. About 100 individuals
applied for the program, including prospective participants
nominated by principals, teachers and administrators throughout
the region. A committee from UC Berkeley's Graduate School
of Education interviewed the candidates and chose the 28 finalists.
Shannon, a teacher at Glen Cove Elementary School in Vallejo,
was among them. He said Glen Cove won honors as a state distinguished
school this past year, an honor never before bestowed on a
be anywhere but an urban school district," said Shannon, who
has taught for 10 years. "As a principal, I can make a greater
Jamal Fields, who has taught at Golden Gate Elementary in
San Francisco's Western Addition for the past three years,
filled in as principal for several weeks last December, giving
him a taste of what his future might hold. "Schools can be
run right and can be changed," he said.
how much difference a good principal makes," said Susan Audap
of San Carlos. "And I know what makes a good principal. It's
not just chance." Audap's last job was with an American school
in Malaysia, but she also spent 10 years teaching in central
Los Angeles schools.
she investigated other principal training programs, but the
one at UC Berkeley was the only one she found that made more
than a passing reference to the teaching and learning component
of being a principal.
At UC Berkeley,
said Grubb, the program sees principals first as educators
rather than as business managers and administrators. The classes
focus on four core areas: teaching and learning, educational
change and reform, educational organization and management,
and urban school issues.