Principal program admits largest cohort

The sixth cohort of the Principal Corps marks the largest group to date and includes aspiring principals from north, central and south Mississippi. The group includes Angela Lowery, from left, Teresa McLeod, Candace Henderson, Eric Sumrall, Mary Moak, John Howard, Trena Warren, Clay Garner, Wendi Husley, Marcus Stewart, Carrie Speck, Bryan Giles, Danielle Miller, Kristen Langerman, Tina Temple Moore, Carol Davis Smith, Shamekia Issac and Joshua Lindsey. (Kevin Bain/University of Mississippi)

The sixth cohort of the Principal Corps marks the largest group to date and includes aspiring principals from north, central and south Mississippi. The group includes Angela Lowery, from left, Teresa McLeod, Candace Henderson, Eric Sumrall, Mary Moak, John Howard, Trena Warren, Clay Garner, Wendi Husley, Marcus Stewart, Carrie Speck, Bryan Giles, Danielle Miller, Kristen Langerman, Tina Temple Moore, Carol Davis Smith, Shamekia Issac and Joshua Lindsey. (Kevin Bain/University of Mississippi)

University of Mississippi

OXFORD – Eighteen teachers from across the state have joined the latest cohort of the Mississippi Principal Corps.

An elite program for aspiring school administrators, all recruits were nominated by their district superintendents and will spend the next 13 months completing the rigorous program involving coursework at the UM School of Education and two full-time internships supervised by accomplished school leaders. The sixth cohort is the largest class to date, growing from 12 recruits last year.

“This program is the beginning of a new professional life for educators,” said Tom Burnham, interim director of the Principal Corps and former state superintendent of education. “Good leaders must see farther down the road than everyone else, and more importantly, not be afraid to make the hard decisions needed to improve schools.”

For the second consecutive year, the Principal Corps has attracted educators from north, central and south Mississippi. From its start in 2009 to 2012, the program’s reach was primarily in north Mississippi.

The group includes educators from the Hancock County, Covington County, Rankin County, Petal, Lamar County, Coahoma County, Gulfport, Natchez-Adams, South Pike, Ocean Springs, South Panola, DeSoto County, Holmes County, Jackson Public and Claiborne County school districts.

All graduates make a five-year commitment to stay in Mississippi education and receive a $10,000 bonus upon signing a contract as a principal or assistant principal and beginning work. With 49 graduates, the ranks of Principal Corps alumni could grow to 67 next year.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with students and helping them realize and achieve their goals,” said Hancock County’s Joshua Lindsey, a UM alumnus and the 2013 Mississippi Teacher of the Year. “My hope is that as an administrator, I will be able to transfer that ability into leading teachers to reach more students, resulting in an exponential growth in success.”

The program covers full tuition, books and fees, as well as housing and living expenses. It also provides funding to help recruits maintain their salary during their time in the program.