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From left are UTSA Professor Bruce Barnett, Cindy Blair (Jefferson High School)
and Monica Vasquez and Maggie Keller (both of Harlandale High School).

UTSA program certifies aspiring principals

By Ashley Harris
Public Affairs Specialist

(Feb. 5, 2007)--The UTSA College of Education and Human Development recently began the first class of the Texas High School Project's Principal Certification Program. The yearlong certification program includes education courses for high school principal certification, business and communication courses, and a paid internship at one of UTSA's partner high schools.

Designed to help school administrators identify, invest and start succession planning for future high school leaders, the program is administered through the Communities Foundation of Texas and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wallace Foundation and the University of Texas System.

UTSA is in partnership with East Central, Harlandale, Judson, San Antonio and Southside ISDs during the inaugural phase with plans to collaborate with other districts in the near future. The administrators of the program are Professor Bruce Barnett and Associate Professor Alan Shoho of the UTSA College of Education and Human Development.

For the inaugural 2006-2007 class, there are six program participants. UTSA hopes to increase this number to 10-15 within two years. Principals in each participating school district are encouraged to recommend their best teachers for the program.

As the role of the school administrator changes, principals must be skilled educators as well as effective communicators and motivators. The UTSA certification program is unique because it reaches across three disciplines: business, education and communication. Additionally, a one-year, non-teaching, full-time administrative internship provides participants with the opportunity to perform the responsibilities of an assistant principal.

"We're proud to partner with UTSA and really excited that UTSA is at the cutting edge of preparing the next generation of school leaders," said John Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Texas High School Project. The project's goal is to help all Texas high school graduates be ready for college and career success as contributing members of their communities.

To qualify for the program, teachers must have a master's degree, a Texas teacher's certificate, three years of teaching experience and be committed to being a high school administrator. Additionally, teachers applying for the program must be employed by a participating school district.

Applicants enter a three-stage selection process that includes review of GPA and GRE scores, an intensive assessment of the student and their current principals, and concludes with an interview by a review panel consisting of Barnett, Shoho and the school district administrators.

Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), a public charity founded in 1953, works closely with donors and offers a unique program of responsible investment, optimal tax benefits and effective grant making. As the largest community foundation in Texas, CFT manages more than 800 component funds with combined assets of more than $700 million and has distributed more than $750 million in charitable grants since its inception.

For more information, contact Alan Shoho at (210) 458-5411 or Bruce Barnett at (210) 458-5413.

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