What was once an idea in an ISU conference room in 2010 was voted into legislation in the spring of 2013 and began in the summer of 2013. Indiana State University was awarded the role as primary agent of this institute and will provide exemplary service with the assistance of the Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP), a partner who was there from the start. The Principal Institute was made possible in 2012 as legislators met with ISU staff to create a response to the overwhelming demands of school principals. This institute borrows some ideas from previous Indiana leadership academies yet brings new ideas to better serve the needs of principals today.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has signed Senate Bill 402 into law, establishing a Principal Leadership Institute at Indiana State University.
The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Jim Banks (R – Columbia City) seeks to strengthen school principals’ leadership skills. Principals enrolled in the institute will learn new leadership, management and communication techniques. The training will include conducting staff and teacher evaluations.
“One key to a successful school is an effective administrator,” Banks said. “Our state will now provide a resource for principals to get the up-to-date skills they need to become more capable leaders. In the long-run, this could create a stronger foundation for our schools, giving our students the best education possible.”
State Reps. Bob Heaton (R-Terre Haute) and Alan Morrison (R-Terre Haute) co-sponsored the legislation.
“This institute offers an excellent opportunity for our public school principals, wishing to attend post-secondary education, to develop themselves professionally as school leaders,” said Heaton. “I am always looking for new ways to provide advancement opportunities for Hoosiers in their profession, and this program provides that for these principals by offering them a chance to strengthen their communication, leadership and instructional skills.””As someone involved in Indiana’s education system, this institute provides an amazing opportunity to improve that system,” said Morrison. “I know many of our school principals have been waiting for an opening like this, and I was very pleased to provide them with a chance to grow and mature professionally which will trickle-down to benefit our Hoosier students.”
Indiana State’s educator preparation programs have long been distinguished by their close collaborative relationships with its K-12 partners, said Bayh College of Education Dean Brad Balch. He added that the Principal Leadership Institute offers a unique opportunity to deepen the partnerships and strengthen the commitment to the college’s K-12 partners.
“The strong support received from Indiana’s legislature is a strong statement of trust in the services we can deliver and we will work tirelessly to live up to our can-do reputation,” he said.
Greg Goode, Indiana State’s executive director of government relations, praised the bi-partisan effort led by Banks, Sens. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn), Tim Skinner (D- Terre Haute), Earline Rogers (D – Gary) and Lindel Hume (D- Princeton) and Reps. Heaton and Morrison.
“These folks have worked very hard throughout this legislative session to get SB 402 to this critical point, and we are honored to have introduced an issue that serves as common ground for both sides of the political aisle to support,” Goode said. “This is good public policy for the state for the state, and we are especially grateful to Sens. Banks and Kruse, who got behind this effort even before this legislative session began.”
Skinner said Indiana State is the right choice for the academy.
“We’re asking more from principals than ever before,” he said. “I believe ISU is uniquely qualified to develop a program that ensures future school leaders have the skills and expertise to meet those challenges.”
Balch said the inaugural institute will begin this summer and will be designed to increase principals’ capacity to address the current needs in their schools. The structure will reflect current research, best practices and a collaborative approach to improving schools.
“We anticipate expanding the scope of our services in the future to include regional cohorts, providing customized support,” he said.