Tennessee Invests $4 Million in Race to the Top Funds
Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Education has pledged nearly $4 million in Race to the Top funds to pay for eight leadership development programs, which will impact future school leaders in more than 20 districts across the state.
The TN LEAD grants were awarded to organizations in partnership with one or more school systems, to either develop or replicate programs aimed at increasing leader effectiveness and improving student outcomes. The programs will target current and pre-service educators, in order to deepen the pipeline of effective leaders in Tennessee schools.A key requirement of the grant was to show evidence that the proposed programs were sustainable, said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.
“Training educators to be future leaders is one of the most important things we can do to ensure the sustainability of our work,” Huffman said. “Having effective principals and district leaders in place will make sure our efforts to improve education continue to pay off many years down the road.”
There were 20 applicants for the competitive TN LEAD grants. Eight recipients received funds, for a total of about $4 million. The programs target teachers who want to be principals, those who seek a teacher-leader role in their school, as well as district personnel who hope to serve in a school leadership position. The winners represent a wide range of innovative approaches, including university-based programs, a rural collaborative, and a multi-district partnership with top principals in China. The leadership development programs will begin this month and continue through July 2014.
Paul Fleming, the department’s executive director of leadership development, and former principal of Metro Nashville’s Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, said that next to teachers, a highly effective leader is the number one factor that impacts student achievement at a school.
“Principals are the gatekeepers; they either encourage high-quality innovation, or they keep it out. They set the tone for the entire building,” he said. “With some of Tennessee’s important initiatives like the Common Core State Standards, there has never been a more important time to have effective leaders in place.”
Please see below for more information about the eight TN LEAD grant recipients.
TN LEAD Grant Recipients Overview
University of Memphis/SW Rural Cooperative
The University of Memphis, in collaboration with the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL), the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and the Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) will lead the Southwest Tennessee Educational Leadership (SWTNEL) initiative to replicate the innovative, research-based and effective Executive Development Program developed by NISL.
Forty-eight school administrators from seven school districts from the Southwest TN Rural Educational Cooperative and the new unified Shelby County School District will participate in the NISL Executive Development Program, which meets the grant replication criteria and the goals to shift from school management to successful collaborative instructional leadership.
Tennessee Valley Learning Network Consortium
Sixty school leaders, 30 current and 30 aspiring, from the five school districts will participate in the NISL Executive Development Program, which meets the grant replication criteria and the goals to shift from school management to successful collaborative instructional leadership.
Clarksville-Montgomery County School System/Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and McREL will develop the capacity of 250 leaders in the district, including instructional supervisors, principals, assistant principals, and teacher leaders using the McREL Balanced Leadership curriculum.
The partnership will maintain a core focus on developing highly skilled and innovative school level leaders, while concurrently building capacity within the larger organization to develop and support a replicable pipeline of highly skilled leaders to address future needs.
Vanderbilt University/Six TN school districts/East China Normal University
This leadership development project will be a collaborative partnership between Vanderbilt University, the districts of Memphis, Tipton, Metro Nashville, Murfreesboro, Loudon, and Knoxville schools, school principals in Shanghai, China and the Institute of Schooling Reform and Development at East China Normal University.
This collaborative will develop greater understanding and expertise, including protocols, tools and resources about how school principals can nurture teacher leadership and instructional capacity for improved student performance.
University of Tennessee/Knox, Roane, Morgan, and Blount School Districts
The University of Tennessee Center for Educational Leadership will partner with the above districts in a Replication grant to achieve the following four goals:
- Increase the number of aspiring administrators in the pipeline for participating school districts.
- Build a database concerning administrative strengths and weaknesses and skill sets of administrative aspirants and new administrators in participating school districts.
- Increase the ability of administrators to build effective teaching and school leadership teams through reflective practice, peer coaching, and mentoring by utilizing strategic team building, and leadership skills based on Gallup Principal Insight, Gallup Strengths Finder, and NAASP Leadership Skills Assessment results.
- Increase the ability of administrators to empower their schools to embrace accountability by framing leadership and evaluation structures around Common Core Curriculum, TAP, and TEAM frameworks.
Sumner County and David Lipscomb University
Through the use of teacher leaders, teachers will gain intentional, targeted, and personalized support in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, instruction, assessment and technology.
Greene County and Unicoi County
Increasing the capacity of our administrators in the Greene County Schools and the Unicoi County Schools is essential to the success of our teachers and thus our students. Central to the implementation of this development grant is the creation of cross-county Leader Results Teams, small groups of building leaders who come together to take part in four collaborative critical leadership and management actions: learning, taking action, gathering evidence, and interpreting.
Tennessee Turnaround School Leaders Network
The Tennessee Turnaround School Leaders Network (TTSLN) is a partnership between Local Education Agencies (Achievement School District, Metro Nashville Public Schools), charter management organizations (Aspire Public Schools, KIPP Memphis, LEAD Public Schools), nonprofit organizations (Tennessee Charter School Incubator, The Ayers Institute for Teacher Leadership), and an institute of higher education (Lipscomb University).
A diverse mix of school leaders (and their managers) from turnaround settings will receive targeted, high-impact professional development and participate in an ongoing support network that will be facilitated by the Ayers Institute for Teacher Leadership at Lipscomb University. Research shows that giving turnaround school leaders the knowledge, skills and support to continually improve the instructional core in their schools will lead to higher student outcomes and greater retention of strong leaders.
Total Funding Amount: $3,884,863.70