WMU News

Academy for educators draws emerging school leaders

Nov. 13, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- While much attention has been focused on teacher shortages in classrooms nationwide, the need for principals and school administrators is increasing too, and professors from Western Michigan University are working to meet the demand.

Teachers who want to become administrators and newly-appointed assistant principals from schools throughout southwest Michigan will attend The Leadership Academy for Future Educational Leaders, Nov. 13-15 at the Fetzer Center on the WMU campus. The academy is co-sponsored by the WMU College of Education and the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency. Earlier this year, the program garnered national recognition and $50,000 from the Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.

Since its inception in 1998, about 100 educators have participated in the Academy, underscoring the continued need to cultivate school leaders, says Dr. Van Cooley, chairperson of WMU's Department of Teaching, Learning and Leadership in the College of Education.

"Time, compensation, and the politics of being a principal are factors that have lead to the shortage," he explains. "The Academy was developed because districts did not have an adequate pool of administrator applicants. For example, Battle Creek has replaced 33 principals in the past five years."

The two-and-a-half day meeting includes presentations for experts in educational leadership, local superintendents, and area principals. They will tackle such topics as leadership styles, job survival skills, effective community relations and team building.

Participants also will examine several case studies based on real-life issues that administrators encounter.

"The focus is on collecting data, exploring short and long term ramifications, reviewing applicable policies and laws, and rendering an effective decision," says Cooley. "Topics include confrontations with students, discipline challenges, conflict resolution with parents and teachers, and threats faced by school districts."

For information, contact Cathy Colella at (269) 387-4174 or Van Cooley at (269) 387-3891.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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