Three Richmond County Schools educators will soon embark on a unique journey that will prepare them to become school principals. Jennifer Brach, Maxine Brown and Joy Starling have been selected to participate in Cohort II of the Sandhills Leadership Academy.
Twenty-one teachers from school districts across the Sandhills region were recently selected to participate in SREC: Sandhills Leadership Academy’s Cohort II. Sandhills Leadership Academy is a three-year federally funded Race to the Top initiative designed to meet the urgent need for highly effective turnaround principals in high need schools in the region. Those accepted into the program were recommended by their school districts and took part in a rigorous selection process at the regional level. The Cohort II aspiring principals will participate in the program full-time during the 2012-2013 school year.
Brach is currently a fifth grade teacher at Mineral Springs Elementary School. She says she’s excited about the changes that are coming in public education, and she looks forward to the rewards and challenges of school administration.
“During this time of shifting standards and practices, I’m thrilled and greatly honored to have the opportunity to join Sandhills Leadership Academy,” Brach said. “I am inspired and eager to meet this new challenge with vigor and urgency to deeply impact students in Richmond County Schools.”
Brach, Brown and Starling will begin the year-long principal preparation with a three-week summer intensive program followed by the residency year, which includes a full-time internship in a school and weekly full-day residency sessions. Two additional intensive weeks will be held during the year, for a total of five intensive weeks. At the end of the year, participants who successfully complete the program will receive North Carolina principal licensure.
Brown teaches business education courses at the Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy and is excited about having the opportunity to make a difference in a larger context.
“Acceptance into the Sandhills Leadership Academy will provide opportunities to help my students beyond the classroom,” said Brown. “As an administrator I will be equipped to assist today’s diverse learners, empowering them to become globally competitive.”
Starling currently serves as a K-12 math coach for the school district, and says she has seen the impact that strong leadership has on schools, through her work with former and current principals in the school system.
“I’ve been inspired by three exceptional principals: Earl Yates, Keith McKenzie, and Julian Carter, who truly believe that every child deserves an effective teacher,” said Starling. “As a future administrator, it’s my responsibility to continue to help make this happen for the children of Richmond County.”
Joyce McRae, a former academic coach, was the first Richmond County educator to participate in the program, and will complete the first cohort this summer. Brown, Brach and Starling will have the benefit of looking to her for guidance through the process. McRae will obtain her principal licensure at the end of the school year.
The North Carolina State Board of Education approved this alternate licensure program in an effort to meet the need for highly skilled school leaders for turnaround schools in the Sandhills region and throughout the state. The Sandhills Regional Education Consortium (SREC), which received the $6 million grant, serves the following participating school districts: Anson County Schools, Bladen County Schools, Columbus County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, Harnett County Schools, Hoke County Schools, Lee County Schools, Montgomery County Schools, Moore County Schools, Richmond County Schools, Public Schools of Robeson County, Scotland County Schools, and Whiteville City Schools. Fayetteville State University, UNC-Pembroke, and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching are partners.