Heading to the Principal’s Office
Principal Preparation and Educational Leadership Development Program
Looking to move from his position in the WacoIndependentSchool District as an instructional technology specialist into administration, Alfredo Loredo, now principal of César Chávez, took the first steps to furthering his education in 1995.
A partnership between Baylor, the WacoIndependentSchool District, and a cohort of students had been developed to make that possible in 1991. That’s when the Baylor University Leadership Academy Master of Science in Education and Principal Certification began preparing leaders to become principals in Texas schools and other parts of the country. The program achieved NCATE national recognition.
Mr. Fred Hale of Henderson, Texas, provided an initial endowment of $1 million to support scholarships and the work of a professor to lead the program. Currently being re-developed and re-instituted, the revised program will be led by a new “clinical professor.” Building on the results of earlier phases of the program and adding more field experience and “problem-based” approaches, the program will operate within a “leadership academy” cohort of 10 to 12 students and is set to start soon after the clinical professor is hired. It will provide opportunities for educational leaders, particularly in the Waco area.
“What didn’t I take away?” says Loredo, who learned about his leadership style, developed collegiality, and learned to look beyond his own campus. “We all worked as a team, almost like our own little mini ISD.”
The program leads to a master’s degree and Principal Certification. Students will be able to apply for partial-tuition scholarships.
Currently more than 60 graduates of the program are in positions of leadership throughout the state. Fifteen serve as principals, including Loredo, 14 as assistant principals, and eight as central office administrators, among others.
The re-instituted program will have more cooperative features as school districts nominate leaders and provide field experiences, mentors, and instructors. Various arrangements being considered will provide on-site experience and additional income for students to supplement the scholarships available through the Hale Endowment.
After working all day and going to class at night during the program, Laredo advises, “You really have to be dedicated. It is very rewarding.”