Read This: Investor offers $20M for Principal PD

The former manager of Fidelity Investments' Magellan Fund is making a
$20 million investment of a different kind, with a return he hopes will
be measured in stronger leadership for Boston's schools.

The gift to Boston College from Peter Lynch and his wife, Carolyn,
will be used to establish a program to train and mentor principals in
the city's public, charter and Catholic schools.

From Ed Week

In one of my first professional gigs beyond the classroom, the Center for Teaching Quality put me to work on developing a collection of resources designed to improve school leadership in North Carolina schools as a part of their early Teacher Working Conditions projects. 

It was a funny gig for me, considering that I've always pressured principals.  But it was an important one, too, because it reframed how I feel about school change.  Before the project, I would have encouraged every educational foundation to drop their dimes into improving classroom teaching.  "Raise salaries," I would have argued, "and give us access to the kinds of tools that we need to do our job well."

It wasn't long, though, before I recognized just how little schools and districts typically invest in principal professional development.  While we're always ready to spend a bit more on teachers, principals don't typically attract the same kind of attention.  I guess it just isn't sexy to spend more to develop good leaders because they're seen as a step away from the kids. 

And that's a shame because I can't think of a single good teacher who is willing to work for a struggling principal.  Take a look at the recruitment and retention patterns in any district and you're bound to discover that the best principals attract—and more importantly hold on to—the best teachers. 

That's why Peter Lynch's investment in the principals of Boston area schools makes so much sense—and why I hope educational foundations will follow his lead. 

Maybe then we'll start to see the kinds of changes in our schools that our students deserve.

3 thoughts on “Read This: Investor offers $20M for Principal PD

  1. Teacha

    I second that. I have worked “under” and “alongside” both types of principals. When there is a lack of respect for the administrators knowledge and expertise the whole school suffers. I am always a big advocate for building leaders within a school regardless of the fact that some may or may not have been given the title of administration. However, in my years both inside and outside of the classroom, an educational institution really cannot progress without a strong site administrator.

  2. Fisher1000

    This is a “just in time” post.
    Janet Hale’s new book “Curriculum Mapping for Administrator’s and Teacher Leaders” is coming out this month, and while it has a mapping focus, it also has a quantification of responsibilities and roles for Admins and Teacher Leaders. The books content is right in line with what you’ve posted – and one of the main foci of the mapping institute in Saratoga Springs, NY in July for those going!
    -Mike Fisher

  3. Alana Carpenter

    I agree that it takes a strong leader i.e. principal to hire, organize, and maintain fantastic teachers. In addition, I am glad Peter Lynch is making such a hefty investment in the schools of Boston. Anyone with half a brain should know that almost any monetary investment in our youth’s education is an investment for tomorrow. I do, however, disagree just a little bit about where the funding should go.
    In the county where I live, my daughter goes to school, and I plan to teach there have been numerous layoffs. The children have smartboards in their classrooms, but they no longer have a Spanish teacher. Their teachers and principal must purchase supplies after we just passed a sales tax increase to benefit our schools. Now rumor has it more teachers will be laid off before school starts this fall. Yes, I definitely think that money could have been better spent somewhere else. What is going to happen when the change that comes about is fantastic leaders with no one to lead?

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