Meeting the Learning Needs of Students: A Rural High-Need School District’s Systemic Leadership Development Initiative

Tricia Browne-Ferrigno, Brenda Maynard


The Principals Excellence Program (PEP), a cohort-based professional development project for administrator certified practitioners, is one of 24 projects a cross the United States supported by federal funds from the No Child Left Behind legislation. The three-year program is conducted through a partnership between Pike County School District, a high-need rural system in Central Appalachia, and the University of Kentucky, located 150 miles away. A major goal for PEP is improved school leadership focused on enhanced student learning. Findings in this paper include inprogress evaluations of program impact toward (a) preparing school leaders to promote learning success for all, (b) engaging cohort members in authentic practice with mentor principals, (c) addressing high-stakes accountability issues, and (d) delivering effective leadership preparation. Perspectives from all stakeholder groups (i.e., cohort participants, mentor principals, district leaders, program instructors) are integrated to provide holistic assessment of PEP.


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