June 20, 2019
Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) held the inaugural session of its School Leadership Network for experienced principals, June 17 – 19 in Morgantown. Nearly 100 experienced school administrators, with three or more years’ experience, representing 41 counties throughout the state attended the first of three sessions to help build a statewide network of support for all school administrators.
Each year West Virginia faces critical shortages in its educational system as experienced principals retire or matriculate through the professional ranks. As a result, counties often have vacancies at the school-level that are difficult to fill. The School Leadership Network was designed to build capacity at the local level in order to provide skilled, effective school leaders that are prepared to meet the demands of the profession while effectively advancing student learning and achievement.
During the three-day session, experienced administrators worked in teams with peers, national researchers and national and local practitioners to discuss research-proven strategies that lead to enhanced instructional leadership and greater student achievement. The goal is to provide a network of resources, knowledge and support for each principal that will sustain professional learning, growth and development. Former West Virginia University head football coach Don Nehlen served as the keynote speaker for the event. Coach Nehlen provided a message promoting strong leadership and adopting a ‘believe in yourself’ mentality while providing coaching tips to support teacher and student growth.
“The School Leadership Network will help us retain the best and brightest professionals in our state,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine. “County superintendents struggle to fill principal positions, and our efforts will assist in building capacity and a developing a pipeline of highly skilled instructional leaders. These educators are so important to our success and progress as a state, and we must build a support structure that allows them to network with one another and inspire them to be great leaders.”