Principals prepare for launch at New & Emerging Leaders Institute

Almost two dozen new principals will take the driver’s seat for the first time this fall at various HISD campuses, and the district’s New & Emerging Leaders Institute is helping to prepare them for success.

The intensive four-week training program, which started July 7, provides new and aspiring campus leaders with information on both practical matters, such as balancing budgets and analyzing data subjects, and more ethereal subjects, such as managing change, building community, and providing leadership.

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“Two of the things attendees learn are to identify their own strengths as leaders and to understand the different types of workers they may encounter,” said Dr. Shannon Verrett, senior manager of Leadership Development. “The takeaway is that they have to be courageous enough to hire people who are different from themselves so that both their teams and their students can benefit from other skill sets.”

Attendees are a mix of both veteran Team HISD members and leaders who are completely new to the district, but all of them appreciated the chance to build a support system in advance of their first days on the job.

“So far, the training has been incredible,” said Lysette Cooper, an 11-year HISD employee who will lead Petersen Elementary School this fall. “Having other people in the same situation to reach out to is very valuable.”

“It no longer feels as if I am alone in the journey,” noted Ana Cantu, who logged two years as the assistant principal at Petersen ES before being tapped to lead Burnet Elementary School. “I have colleagues who are alongside me, as well as mentors who have already paved the way.”

“Just knowing that we have the direct telephone numbers and emails of key experts in a variety of areas has reduced my anxiety,” added Nicole Haskins, who has been named principal of Mading Elementary School. “It is good to know that not only will my mentor be supporting me, but now I have an entire team.”

The New & Emerging Leaders Institute concludes on July 30.