Few Louisiana Teachers Interested in Becoming Principals

A new survey has concluded that schools in Louisiana need to work harder to get teachers prepared for leadership roles, as reported by Amanda Mcelfresh from The Advertiser.

The survey, which was conducted by The Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, took information from 400 teachers across 56 schools — a large enough sample size so that conclusions drawn from the survey can be considered reliable. Only 10 teachers out of those 400 teachers expressed an interest in becoming principals.

Furthermore, more than half of the survey participants stated that they thought the schools in which they worked were not addressing the issue of developing teachers to become leaders adequately enough.

"They've got to let teachers know about the ways that teachers become principals," said Keith Courville, A+PEL's director of professional development. "Most people think you just get a master's degree, but really, districts have pipelines. They need to let teachers know how they identify or select potential principals."

President of Lafayette Parish Association of Educators Rodolfo Espinoza expressed his opinion that teachers need to be given more help so that they can move into administrative positions more smoothly.

He went on to say that there needs to be a process of identifying which teachers have the talent and then getting them the required training to be qualified for those leadership roles. Only by making the effort and invest in the teachers will they be able to excel in the leadership roles.

Sandra Billeaudeau, who is a Lafayette Parish Assistant Superintendent, said that during the last few years the district has made an effort in the area of professional development for the teachers. The program helps teachers come up with lesson plans and how to better manage their classrooms. Billeaudeau has expectations that the program to develop teachers will bridge the gap between the role of teaching and administration.

"Those are the first steps to leadership because it's like boots on the ground. You're working with teachers in a leadership role, you're coaching, you're helping them, you are leading out on certain things," Billeaudeau said. "You're analyzing data, looking at best practices, helping with training. Those are the foundational parts of leadership.""

Most of the participants of the survey did say that they would prefer to stay in the classroom, but there is a growing interest towards leadership roles — and with the right opportunities teachers might be able to turn that interest in to real career progress.

The survey also showed that most teachers view their principal as being effective at their role.

"We're very pleased that our principals are doing a good job. They are certainly putting forth a good amount of effort," Courville said. "We need to do more on supporting principals as instructional leaders. We're putting more and more on them."

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