HED: CREATE gets grant for leadership training for principals
By Marty Russell
Two Mississippi nonprofit foundations are teaming up to form separate training programs to teach teachers and school principals the principles of effective leadership.
Mark Porter, president of the Phil Hardin Foundation in Meridian, presented the Tupelo-based CREATE Foundation with a check for $20,000 Tuesday to kick off what organizers hope will eventually become the Northeast Mississippi Principals Institute. A similar effort is under way in the Meridian area.
CREATE will match the grant for a total project cost of about $40,000.
“The Hardin Foundation is most pleased to join CREATE in funding the leadership program,” Porter told a gathering Tuesday afternoon at CREATE’s offices. “We value our relationship with CREATE, and together we can do things this area and our area of the state need.”
Both CREATE and the Phil Hardin Foundation are charitable organizations that promote community development in their respective regions.
Guy Mitchell, CREATE chairman, said the purpose of the program is to train school principals in advanced leadership skills and then have those skills passed along to other administrators and teachers.
“The basic objective is to provide area principals an opportunity to learn from national educators,” Mitchell said.
CREATE President Buddy Parham said the work already has begun by selecting an advisory board of area principals from the 15-county Northeast Mississippi region to help guide the effort.
“We will be sending five of those principals this summer to five of the best training programs in the U.S.,” Parham said.
Some of those programs are located at Vanderbilt University, Harvard and the Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina.
In addition, principals from throughout the region will be selected to attend three-day seminars on “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” taught by the Covey Leadership Center. The course teaches personal and interpersonal leadership development.
The principals would then transfer what they learn to other school administrators and teachers to spread the knowledge throughout their school systems.
“I think the concept of what we’re hoping to do is an excellent way to disseminate the information throughout our school district,” said Dr. Mike Vinson, superintendent of Tupelo Public Schools.
The training is expected to start this summer, and CREATE hopes to open the doors on an actual institute for continuing leadership training in education by next summer, Parham said.
Serving on the advisory board for the Northeast Mississippi Principals Institute are Jamie Bramlett of New Albany, Harvey Brooks of Guntown, Debra Calvert of Nettleton, Linda Clifford of Booneville, Wanda Dean of Oxford, Sam Dowdy of Pontotoc city schools, Pete McMurtry of Fulton, Richard Smith of Corinth and Dale Warriner of Tupelo.