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September 12, 2012 • admin

Principal Leadership Academy panelists share insights

PEF’s board of community leaders, committed volunteers, and corporate executives meets quarterly in our third floor leadership center to recap, plan, and make decisions about the work of the organization. A frequent tool to keep board members updated is a guest panel of PEF program participants. Today’s guests were part of the Principal Leadership Academy. Chrissy Easterly, first-year principal at Ooltewah Middle, LeAngela Rogers, first-year principal at Hixson Middle, and LeAngela’s mentor Rosemarie Hill of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel P.C., reflected on their PLA experience during today’s board meeting.

Chrissy Easterly spoke about her mentor, Thomas Loafman of Volkswagen, as a partner in learning about establishing and working towards goals. “When I toured Volkswagen, I noticed there were charts about productivity everywhere – what the targets are and where the company is at any given moment. What I have done is set goals and measurements for how we will measure and improve academic achievement, and our faculty discusses data regularly.”

LeAngela Rogers praised her mentor’s involvement and willingness to visit her in the school setting. Rosemarie Hill agreed that her visits, as well as LeAngela’s to her law firm, were most valuable. “Education isn’t my world, but there are so many insights I gained about how schools actually operate. For instance, on a basic level, I saw first-hand how much organized chaos there is when an end-of-class alarm goes off at school, and how beautifully the staff handles that chaos. Another big issue which LeAngela and I discussed often was communication. I’ve always believed it is important for schools, including principals, to communicate well with parents and the community. But from spending time in the school, I now completely understand why they can’t necessarily return a phone call or e-mail immediately or as soon as we might prefer – they’re too busy ordering the chaos and maintaining a valuable education, each and every day!”

In talking about their pathway to the principalship, Chrissy and LeAngela both said how important the PLA was in developing both their skills and confidence. Chrissy noted, “I didn’t plan to be a principal, but I signed up for the PLA because there’s not a lot of professional development for assistant principals. Later, LeAngela and I decided to apply for principal jobs and we were both accepted. The confidence we gained through the program really made a difference in our decision to even apply.”

You can see why our board members were impressed by this panel! Learn more about the Principal Leadership Academy, a partnership between PEF, the Chamber, Hamilton County Department of Education, and UTC.

– Shannon Edmondson, Development & Communications Officer