By Crystal McGough
For the Tribune
TRUSSVILLE — On March 5, Trussville City Schools will launch its brand new, one-of-a-kind “Growing Leaders: Administrative Principal Mentoring Program.”
“We have developed this principal mentoring program in an effort to grow leaders within Trussville City Schools,” TCS Superintendent Dr. Pattie Neill said. “We will pilot the program this spring and hopefully complete at least two rounds of candidates in the principal and assistant principal categories.
This will give Trussville employees who aspire to become a school principal an opportunity to shadow one of our outstanding principals for four weeks and perform full responsibilities during the fifth week. Dr. Autumm Jeter, principal at Magnolia Elementary, will be the lead mentor in this program.”
Just before Christmas break, Neill, Jeter and Assistant Superintendent Beth Bruno held several meetings to begin planning for the program.
“TCS has a well-established teacher mentoring program that provides support to first-year teachers in our district,” Bruno said. “It is a natural next step for the district to provide an administrator mentoring program. Experts consistently emphasize the value of mentorships in administrator induction programs. The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) describes high-quality mentors as ‘the key’ to improving training for aspiring principals in an effective manner.”
Bruno said that Jeter will serve as the Central Office Liaison for the administrative mentorship program.
“This is new for our system and it’ll be a new program for me, as well,” Jeter said. “It was really created from scratch here. Dr. Neill reached out to me. She and I and our assistant superintendent talked together. I developed the outline and I’ll develop a manual as we go along. So it’s not a model that’s necessarily out there that we’ve taken. It’s created by us.”
The Growing Leaders program is only available to TCS faculty members who have obtained their administrative certification.
“This is unique to us and only for us,” Jeter said. “The state does have a model of administrative mentorship, but this program is for our teachers and assistant principals who are certified to be principals and that have a desire one day to either be a principal or assistant principal.”
Jeter said that one of the purposes of the program is for faculty members that hold administrative certification to get a chance to shadow an experienced principal.
“It’s like an internship before they seek principalship,” she said. “Kind of like teachers do with student teaching when they’re in college, but this is for administrators and this program will be unique to us in Trussville.”
The program will allow one faculty member at a time to have a one-on-one mentorship with Jeter for five weeks. Over the last two months, Jeter emailed admin-certified faculty members an overview of the program, along with an application for those who were interested.
Bruno also wrote an article about the program on the TCS internal blog and shared it with those within the school system.
Jeter said that she, Neill and Bruno will come together this week to review the applications and select the first intern. For the remainder of this school year, Jeter expects to have two interns, one beginning March 5, and another beginning in April.
During the course of the five-week program, the interns will focus on five “mentorship program goals,” which will include instruction, school management (inclusive of safety), finances, discipline and school culture.
“I’m excited about it,” Jeter said. “A program of this nature is an awesome opportunity for them to gain first-hand knowledge about the role of principal and assistant principal. I would encourage all of our aspiring principals and assistant principals to participate. I surely wish there was a program such as this around when I started out as an assistant principal.”