Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Winthrop University are teaming up to groom teachers, counselors and other front-line educators as future principals.
Superintendent Peter Gorman said the Leaders for Tomorrow program is vital to ensuring a supply of school leaders. Since he took the top CMS job two years ago, Gorman has named 75 principals, assistant principals and other high-ranking administrators, he said.
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Gorman said he plans to announce another effort soon to recruit and train business people as education leaders.
Twenty-five rank-and-file educators began taking classes this summer, learning from Winthrop professors and CMS leaders. Grants of $75,000 from Advantage Carolina, a business-backed fund that promotes education and economic development, and $20,000 from Allen Tate Realtors cut the tuition cost for participants, who will earn master's degrees in educational leadership.
Current principals and other top administrators nominated educators they believed had potential to lead. About 50 nominees made presentations and wrote papers about how they'd lead a school.
The first group of 25 will be ready to take administrative jobs in 2010; CMS plans to start recruiting a second group late this year. In return for the tuition discounts, participants agree to stay in CMS for at least three years.
Educators who were not tapped for Leaders for Tomorrow remain free to earn advanced degrees and apply for promotion on their own.