CSW2013: Foundations for Future Principals

by Barbara McArdle

A recent article written in School Leadership 2.0, “Where Are the Next Successful Principals Coming From” by Dr. Donald Sternberg, principal of the Wantagh Elementary School, L.I., clearly affirms and confirms the purpose and design of the St. Frances Cabrini Institute~Aspiring Principals’ Discernment Program that was instituted in September, 2012.
Teachers that are employed by schools/academies within the Diocese of Brooklyn and who are interested in advancing their careers as educators, have a new venue to explore the aspects of the administrative position before commitment to graduate study.
The St. Frances Cabrini Institute~Aspiring Principals Discernment Program encompasses a colloquium that is specifically designed for recruiting, introducing, preparing and developing prospective leaders for Catholic elementary schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.
This preliminary seminar is a “pre-service.” The intending principals complete the seminar prior to their career as school administrator. A goal-oriented program, it is a pre-requisite for those educators who have not as yet begun working as principal; a pre-service principal education initially takes place before the start of graduate course work.

Maintaining Exemplary Leadership
The intent of this scripted program is to assist in maintaining exemplary leadership within the Catholic schools. The scaffolding design further broadens the needed competence to fulfill the leadership commitment.
The power standards for identifying the knowledge and skills that are essential for school leadership are clearly defined within the Diocese of Brooklyn Leadership Standards: the fundamentals that every future administrator should internalize before becoming the Catholic leader in the Catholic school.
Currently, five teachers from various schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn will embark on their graduate studies at St. John’s University: a partnership that the Diocese of Brooklyn has forged with St. John’s. In addition to graduate classes, the candidates will attend monthly seminars on Catholic identity issues. The intent of this program is to provide a pool of candidates the opportunity for an administrative position, not the promise of a job.
The answer to the initial question posed: The next principals are coming from the St. Frances Cabrini Institute~Aspiring Principals’ Discernment Program, where potentially strong academic leaders are sought out from our school and academies.

Barbara McArdle is the diocesan assistant superintendent for principal professional development.