Education

Bush Institute chooses Fort Worth schools for prestigious program to aid principals

The Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute is working to help train strong school leaders in the Fort Worth school district.
The Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute is working to help train strong school leaders in the Fort Worth school district. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Supporting strong school principals is the focus of a new partnership between Fort Worth schools and the Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute.

The goal is to build strong leaders by focusing on the professionals who hire and oversee principals — such as an executive director or an assistant vice superintendent.

The Fort Worth school district is one of four in the nation chosen for the program.

“We know that campus leadership is one of the most important ingredients in student success, second only to a highly-effective teacher,” said Superintendent Kent Scribner in a statement. “Principals set the tone for school climate and culture, and we are grateful to George W. Bush Institute for their investment in our District and its leaders.”

Eva Chiang, deputy director of education reform at the institute, said principals are key to building a culture of school success. Principals hire teachers, manage school budgets and work to build parent relationships every day. When principals build strong work environments, teachers stay and the work to educate students improves, she added.

“It’s like a mid-level manager running your own organization and trying to line up with the goals of the larger organization,” Chiang said.

The Principal Talent Management Framework, a three-year program, will also be put in place in the Austin school district, Chesterfield County Public Schools in Virginia and Granite School District in Utah.

The institute, housed at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU campus, is committed to helping improve public schools, among other initiatives. In October 2016, former President George W. Bush visited a Fort Worth school and spoke with local leaders about efforts to strengthen schools.

“The principal can make a significant difference in a school,” Bush said. “And so the question is, are school districts properly recruiting, training and retaining effective principals? Our goal is to find out what works and spread it nationally.”

This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Diane A. Smith: 817-390-7675, @dianeasmith1

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