The West Virginia Board of Education Rolled Up its Sleeves to Focus on Leadership

March 17, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) got a lesson in effective instructional leadership. Board members participated in a work session focused on leadership strategies, policies and resources. Dr. Jacquelyn Wilson, a national school leadership expert, shared information about school leader standards, training and development programs, and working conditions.

"The quality of school leaders is as important as the quality of teachers in the classroom," said Gayle Manchin, president of the WVBE. "We know that the impact of leadership tends to be greatest in schools where the learning needs of students are most acute. The training we received today allows us to keep abreast of the latest research and provides guidance as we develop policy for leadership programs."

Key elements of a cohesive leadership system include:

  • A licensure and certification system that clearly defines the standards and qualifications for educators;
  • Development of a principal pipeline (teacher, teacher leader, assistant principal, principal, principal supervisor);
  • Mentoring programs for new principals;
  • A high quality performance evaluation system that provides a plan for professional growth; and,
  • Working conditions supportive of school leadership (resources such as quality data systems, funding, governance structures, time management).

"For years, West Virginia has recognized the importance of growing the talent within our education system," said Manchin. "That is why we work in collaboration with higher education and other organizations like the Center for Professional Development and others to build programs and resources for educators wishing to transition into leadership roles. The board expects to continue to search out opportunities and learn more about instructional leadership."

The WVBE is developing policies related to building strong instructional school leaders through a National Association of School Boards of Education (NASBE) grant. In addition, a National Governor's Association grant has made it possible for West Virginia to use the "Tool to Support States in Improving Policy Focused on School Principals" which will help evaluate current leadership policies. Finally, the WVBE was awarded a Claude Worthington Benedum grant to address school leadership recommendations from an Imagine WV report.

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Communication Office at 304-558-2699.

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