Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Providence public school principals - four conversations for snow day reading

Hello, snow day! Before the dual demands of the day--productively occupying my kids while staying productive at work--commence, it's time for a much-overdue blog update.

During the fall and winter of 2013-4, I wrote about the East Side's public schools for East Side Monthly, focusing on the principals of each school. Here's the full line-up:

Kim Luca, Nathan Bishop Middle School (October, 2013)
Tamara Sterling, Hope High School (November 2013)
Kristen Mercurio Lussier, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School (January 2013)
Susan Stambler, Vartan Gregorian Elementary School (February 2013)
Here on the blog, I've already featured the interview with Ms. Sterling, and will do so with the other three in the coming days.

My intention for the ESM  pieces is to keep the opportunities and concerns of public education at the forefront of conversation in Providence, and the specific intention of these features was to remind ESM's readers that we have four vibrant public school options close at hand. On a practical basis, with the limited time I have to write these pieces, an interview with the principal allows a schoolwide perspective and insight into the schools' direction. 

These four principals have more than geography in common. All are women, which is consistent with a trend of increasing numbers of female school principals nationwide (though, according to this research from RAND, the rates of promotion to principal are still higher for men (and yes, these data are dated, but I couldn't find a more recent study, at least not at this moment while the snow day clock is ticking)). All are also fairly new on the job, with two or fewer years in their current position--though their experience levels vary widely, ranging from a first-time principal to a principal with many years of administrative experience. This was consistent with principal tenure at schools serving disadvantaged populations, which tend to have high principal turnover; on average, principals serve fewer than three years (Center for Public Education). I hope that all four principals break that trend and choose to/are able to stay on the job so that their school communities can feel the impact of their thoughtful, collaborative leadership.

It was a real pleasure to meet all of these school leaders, and I was grateful for their time. 

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