D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson (SFS ’92, G ’07) joined Georgetown University President Jack DeGioia in announcing a specially tailored MSB graduate program for 25 DCPS principals at a launch event held Tuesday night.
Georgetown University and several donors are subsidizing the program, through which the principals get a degree in Executive Master’s in Leadership. Henderson, who graduated from the University’s EML program in 2007, helped David Thomas, Dean of the MSB, and Senior Associate Dean Paul Almeida create an EML program that specifically serves the needs of DCPS principals.
“This program … represents a major investment in developing the kind of leadership culture in a school system that can be transformative,” Thomas said.
Classes will meet on the weekends, beginning Jan. 25 and ending in December 2013, and, some weekends, classes will be held at DCPS locations. Almeida hopes that the faculty can see what DCPS principals experience to better teach the skills these educators need, according to the school website.
“The school is really the unit of change,” said Henderson, who arrived wearing blue and gray and a Jack the Bulldog sticker on her cheek. “We need absolutely fantastic educators in front of every single classroom, but great educators won’t come and wont stay and won’t do their best unless there are great leaders in a school creating an environment for that to happen.”
In the midst of Henderson’s recommended closure of 20 D.C. public schools due to low enrollment, attracting quality educators to those that remain open could help reinvigorate the system, said Darrin Slade, principal of Ron Brown Middle School.
“I think like chancellor Henderson said we have to take a transformative approach so that we can lure a lot of the students back into the D.C. public schools and also keep the students that we currently have,” said Slade. “I think some of the things we will learn in this program will help accomplish that.”
According to the University’s website, the program will teach skills such as motivational speaking, engaging in difficult conversations, managing stakeholder relationships, dealing with uncertainty, and others central to adept leadership.
“We know that in order to provide D.C. students with a world-class education, leadership matters,” Henderson says. “In addition to recruiting the best school leaders in the country to do this challenging work, we must support their professional growth and development.”
DeGioia recognized that this program can better DCPS students’ experiences and is a reflection of the school’s commitment to be a partner to the community.
“Education transforms. It expands opportunities for our children it sustains our communities and it enables us to envision a better future together,” said Degioia.
Photo: Miles Gavin Meng