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Educators Complete Inaugural Leadership Development Program

Educators Complete Inaugural Leadership Development Program

The Leadership Development Program participants were recognized at the Colquitt County Board of Education meeting on December 12, 2022. Pictured left to right are Michelle Daniels, Kristyn Nelms, Dr. Kim May, Dr. Ben Pitchford, Ian Smith, Kristen Harrison, and Chad Horne. Not pictured: Kati Strickland and Ishia Dawson.

Last fall, Superintendent Ben Wiggins began the Colquitt County Leadership Development Program (CCDLP) for school district employees aspiring to fill leadership roles in the future. The year-long program began in January 2022 and ended with a recognition dinner in December. The inaugural cohort included nine assistant principals with three or more years of effective practice currently working in the school district who had expressed a desire to become a principal. Candidates were selected based on a rigorous recommendation, application, and interview process. The 2022 cohort included leaders from all levels--elementary, middle, and high school.

"Great school leadership is crucial in lifting student outcomes," stated Dr. Marni Kirkland, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum. "Our inaugural group of CCDLP participants demonstrates a commitment to public education and the potential to become impactful future principals."

Throughout the year, the participants engaged with information regarding school schedules, special programs, finance, communications, student services,  human resources, and the law of education. They also heard from a panel of principals from other school districts on their path to leadership. Each participant was tasked with shadowing a principal in another school they had not previously worked with.

Willie J. Williams Assistant Principal Ian Smith shared, "This was an extraordinary opportunity for my colleagues and me to expand our expertise in educational leadership beyond the school level. During this program, we had the opportunity to learn about the multiple facets that make a school district run efficiently and how being knowledgeable of these facets can improve our effectiveness as school-level leaders."

The Leadership Development Program will be an annual program rotating between groups of assistant principals and teacher leaders. The next group will be teachers who aspire to move into assistant principal roles. They will begin in January 2023.

2022 Participants:
Kristen Harrison, Willie J. Williams Middle School
Dr. Ben Pitchford, Sunset Elementary School
Ian Smith, Willie. J. Williams Middle School
Chad Horne, Colquitt County High School
Dr. Kim May, Hamilton Elementary School
Kati Strickland, Funston Elementary School
Kristyn Nelms, GEAR
Michelle Daniels, Norman Park Elementary School
Ishia Dawson, C.A. Gray Junior High School

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