University of Houston-Victoria is winding down its involvement in the
development of a program that has helped hundreds of Texas school principals
develop better business and management skills.
The Texas Principal Excellence Program, known as TxPEP, will end this month,
but UHV’s legacy for the program will be felt for decades as principals use
TxPEP training to improve their school districts.
The American Productivity and Quality Center in Houston will continue the
professional development program under a different name.
“For the last three years, UHV faculty has worked closely with APQC to
develop and deliver a program that helps principals become more effective
leaders,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business
Administration. “The success of the TxPEP program is a testament to the value of
this type of collaboration and to the dedication of those involved.”
“A third-party evaluator did find significant differences between TxPEP
participants, and they found that the vast majority of TxPEP principals were
implementing what they learned on their campuses,” said Stephanie Solansky, UHV
assistant professor of management and TxPEP program coordinator.
She said the benefits of the program will be felt across the state.
“A lot of principals in smaller schools, particularly those in West Texas,
don’t have access to the training those in a big city do,” Solansky said.
“It costs a lot to travel, and we developed this program so that it was pretty
much brought to them.”
UHV business faculty members developed 10 new webinars during the summer and
added 10 more from other presenters with the help of UHV multimedia specialist
Chad Abston. This brought the total number of online training offerings to 65.
The webinars from the business faculty offer Master of Business
Administration-style training in all aspects of administration from management,
to personnel, to budgeting.
The new webinars cover subjects as basic as time management and improving
decisions, to leading a demographically diverse organization, ethical reasoning,
and internal marketing to improve communication with faculty and staff.
Another summer activity saw a committee of five UHV faculty members evaluate
TxPEP “to make sure all the gaps were covered,” Solansky said.
The program has proven popular among school administrators. When it began
four years ago, 75 to 80 percent of its participants were from low-performing
school districts, and the Texas Education Agency mandated their participation.
As word spread about the program, Solansky said those numbers “flip-flopped,”
and it became more of a voluntary professional development program.
TxPEP also sends a “coach” to the administrators, “someone who has been in
their shoes and can mentor them,” Solansky said. Another benefit for
principals is a look into other district’s best practices and innovations.
The program was created in 2006 with House Bill 1 and a grant from the TEA.
UHV and APQC partnered on the initiative.
“At first, we were very involved in day-to-day operations of the program, and
I spent all my time traveling around the state delivering training for TxPEP,”
Solansky said. UHV has tapered its involvement over the past several years,
knowing its partnership would be completed with the end of the TEA grant period.
Niroomand believes much of the credit for the program’s success belongs to
“Dr. Solansky accepted the challenge of coordinating TxPEP on UHV’s behalf
very early in her career here, and she’s done an outstanding job,” Niroomand
said. “We’re fortunate to have someone of her caliber on our faculty.”
UHV evaluation committee members included Solansky, David Summers, Olga
Chapa, Donna Stringer and Chien-Ping Chen. UHV webinar presenters included
Solansky, Summers, Stringer, Nagarajan Ramamoorthy, Rajan Selvarajan, Jun-Yeon
Lee, Peggy Cloninger, Ronald Salazar, Uche Nwabueze and Jane Mims.