What started out at the University
of Houston-Victoria as an idea for a small program during the summer to help
school principals learn leadership and management skills is now a year-long
program involving 333 principals statewide.
“We thought this was going to be a
small program with 20 to 30 principals. However, even with its size, I do think
it’s going well,” said Stephanie Solansky, a UHV assistant professor of
management and Texas Principal Excellence Program (TxPEP) program coordinator.
TxPEP was created in 2006 through
the passage of Texas House Bill 1. Introduced in legislation as the School
Leadership Pilot Program as a way to help principals improve their schools,
TxPEP operates through a partnership between UHV and the American Productivity
and Quality Center in Houston. APQC is a member-based nonprofit providing
benchmarking and best-practice research for about 500 organizations worldwide.
“It’s a delight to work with UHV
and a wonderful learning experience for us,” said Anne Miller, APQC director of
strategic education initiatives and TxPEP program manager.
UHV got involved after the Texas
Education Agency did a presentation about TxPEP at a Texas School of Business
Deans’ Association meeting in September of 2006. Charles Bullock, dean of the
UHV School of Business Administration, attended the meeting and saw a way UHV
could make a difference in K-12 education in Texas. The program falls under
UHV’s mission of serving the educational needs, promoting economic well-being
and advancing the quality of life in the region.
“UHV and APQC were selected to
provide the program through a competitive bid process,” UHV President Tim Hudson
said. “This is an indication of the quality of UHV’s programs and faculty, our
tradition of Web-based instruction, and our ability to partner with private
The UHV School of Education and
Human Development also helped with the development of the grant request and the
initial design of the program. Bullock said he was thrilled that UHV and APQC
were selected to provide the program.
“This is an honor and a privilege
to deliver an MBA-style leadership program for school principals that has the
potential to significantly improve the performance of K-12 education statewide,”
The first 333 participants started
in September and will finish the program in June. The principals come from
charter, elementary, middle and high schools. About 80 percent of the
participants must be in the program because their schools were rated
Academically Unacceptable through the state’s 2006-2007 academic accountability
system. The rest of the participants applied for the program, which is paid for
through a $3.5 million grant from the TEA.
Through the program, the
principals receive two evaluations, support from a mentor, and face-to-face and
online leadership training. Forty-eight current and retired Texas principals
serve as mentors. Workshops are given at multiple locations throughout the state
so that principals can easily attend. Online training is provided through
interactive, live seminars, or “webinars,” which also are archived.
In a recent survey of
participants, 94 percent of the principals said they were satisfied with the
webinars, Solansky said.
“This is very good news to us
because most of them have never participated in webinars,” she said. “They
really enjoy the online educational environment that UHV can offer.”
The principals will evaluate
themselves on their leadership skills and have others do the same in April and
May. An independent firm also will evaluate the program after it ends and will
provide follow-up information about its effectiveness in January 2009.
The Texas Education Association
already has asked UHV and APQC to provide the program again next year, and
details are being worked out.