A Matter of Principals

September 16, 2015
It takes a special calling, along with specialized training and certification, to be a principal or assistant principal. The job offers a great deal of satisfaction, but not a lot of financial reward.

F15-Giving-MaryAnn-250That’s why it’s important Baylor School of Education provides scholarship support for students in the MSEd Principal Certification Preparation program through the Hale Endowment. Established by Fred Hale of Henderson, Texas, the endowment honors retired professor Dr. Jimmy Williamson and supports the principal-preparation program in the Department of Educational Administration.

“The endowment provides a significant subsidy for each student who qualifies for admission,” said Dr. Mary Ann Jordan, faculty director of the program and a former principal. “It’s such a benefit, because the educators who go through this program won’t be looking at becoming wealthy through their chosen careers. This allows them to get a master’s degree, prepare for the certification exam, and not incur a large amount of debt or expense to carry with them as they serve in our schools.”

F15-PullQuote-Giving-400Ben D’Ardenne, BBA ’07, MSEd ’12, assistant principal at Ranch View Middle School in the suburbs of Denver, Colo., said it was the financial support of the Hale Endowment that made it possible for him to pursue his administrative dreams.

“That was a huge deal for me,” D’Ardenne said. “My wife and I had just finished paying our undergraduate loans, and we couldn’t incur any more debt. I wanted to pursue this degree, and the endowment made it possible.”

D’Ardenne was also able to keep working as a math teacher while earning the degree, because Baylor’s 15-month program is designed for working educators. During the school year, classes are held two days each month on a Friday and Saturday to accommodate out-of-town students, who compose one-third of the cohort. Students attend full-time during the two summers.

The program also includes an eight-month internship — the longest of any program in Texas — extending January through August.

“It’s important for students to see the administrative side of a school during the summer,” Jordan said, “because a lot happens.”

Educational research has shown that the quality of the principal is a determining factor in student success, Jordan said. Research studies have also pinpointed essential qualities of a successful school leader, she said, and Baylor’s program is built around instilling those qualities. Since 2008, when the principal program returned from a hiatus, every graduate who has taken the state principal exam has passed, Jordan said.

D’Ardenne said his Baylor experience was second to none. “I think the face-to-face classes and the faculty at Baylor create a higher quality program than others,” he said. “And you have a degree from Baylor, which means a lot, because the reputation of Baylor is pretty significant.”

Spr-15-Blake-NewYour support can make an incredible difference in the lives of Baylor students. Consider establishing your own or contributing to an existing endowed scholarship fund at Baylor's School of Education.

Learn more about giving opportunities HERE or call or email Blake Harris at (254) 710-2561 or Blake_Harris@baylor.edu.
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