State Receives $1.2 Million for Leadership Development in Education

October 31, 2000

The West Virginia Department of Education announced that it has received a $1.2 million State Challenge Grant for Leadership Development from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will prepare the state’s superintendents and school principals for their emerging role in technology and will enable them to become informed leaders who support and encourage the use of technology to transform student learning.  

The grant will launch the Learning Educational Administration from a Distance (LEAD) project, which was developed in partnership with state education and government leaders. As part of LEAD, the project partners will conduct LEADership Academies that will be available to all West Virginia superintendents and principals.  

"This grant will open the door to new learning opportunities for children throughout West Virginia," said Governor Cecil H. Underwood. "By providing a solid foundation for our administrators through this training, we will improve the way we educate students and support teachers in the new century. I commend the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its sound investments in the future of our state and nation -- our children."  

These LEADership Academies will enable principals and superintendents to become informed leaders who use technology to complete daily tasks and who support and encourage teachers’ use of technology to transform student learning. The Academies will focus on developing skills and gaining knowledge to effectively integrate technology into the learning environment, while enhancing leadership skills to encourage data-driven decisions regarding instruction.  

"Technology is a catalyst that has sparked a renewed interest in teaching and learning in the Mountain State," said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Stewart."The world is changing rapidly, so the manner in which we lead our schools, prepare our leaders and communicate within the education community must also change."  

Over 1,000 public and private educational leaders will receive intensive technology and leadership training as part of the three-year project. Participants will also receive laptop computers to complete online coursework as part of the LEADership Academy and to complete tasks that are associated with their leadership positions.  

“West Virginia is taking an important step forward in a long-term commitment to strengthening its school leadership core,” said Tom Vander Ark, Executive Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Education Initiative. “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believes that strong leadership is a critical factor in helping all students achieve and we are excited to partner with West Virginia to advance its leadership development programs.”  

Partners in the project include the West Virginia Secretary of Education and the Arts, the West Virginia Association of School Administrators, the principals’ associations and other state agencies and foundations. For information about the project, please visit the WV Department of Education’s website at  

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people’s lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates’ father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based Foundation has an asset base of $21 billion. Preventing deadly diseases among poor children by expanding access to vaccines, and developing vaccines against malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis, are central priorities. Other major efforts include extending unprecedented opportunities for learning by bringing computers with Internet access to every eligible library in the U.S. and Canada, and providing scholarships to academically talented minority students in the U.S. with severe financial need through the Gates Millennium Scholars Program ( For complete information and grant guidelines, visit

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