Over 550 Principals Have Participated in Tennessee Principal Professional Learning Series

Monday, June 15, 2020 | 10:13am

Monday, June 15, 2020  

MEDIA CONTACT: Victoria Robinson  

EMAIL: EDU.MediaInquiries@tn.gov

Over 550 Principals Have Participated in Tennessee Principal Professional Learning Series

Principals Invited to Participate in Summer Sessions to Prepare for Fall


Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Educational Leadership announced that over 550 principals from across the state have participated in the Tennessee Principal Learning Series, a free professional development resource for Tennessee’s principals to address challenges presented by COVID-19.

Principals representing over 85 counties and all eight of Tennessee’s CORE Regions have participated in this virtual professional development opportunity. The ongoing series will continue through the summer and will specifically address topics for preparing for the fall. 

Principals are invited to participate at any point, as recordings and session materials from the previous weeks’ sessions are also available to view at their own pace here.

"We are delighted and encouraged by the response and participation in this professional development resource for Tennessee’s principals,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Ensuring our school leaders are prepared and equipped to face the challenges of this coming school year is essential to the success of our students and educators. Thanks to our partners at the University of Tennessee, these sessions have had incredibly positive responses from across the state, and the materials are available online for any of our school leaders who would like to still participate—it's definitely not too late.”

In partnership with the University of Tennessee's Center for Educational Leadership led by Dr. Jim McIntyre, the live digital sessions began the week of May 4 and will continue through the week of June 29. The sessions are for all Tennessee principals and completely free, optional, and eligible for TASL-credit.

“The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is honored to work with and support school principals across the Volunteer State during this crisis,” said Dr. Jim McIntyre, Director of the Center for Educational Leadership. “We have been so impressed with the level of engagement and dialogue among school leaders in the Principal Professional Learning Series, and so proud of the commitment, dedication, and student-focus of our principals as they lead through these unprecedented times.”

During the month of May, sessions focused on immediate issues facing principals in light of COVID-19, such as best practices in digital learning, whole child needs, and leading remotely.

Starting last week, the summer sessions have shifted to focus on supporting school leaders as they prepare for the next school year and beyond through differentiation, personalization, and intervention, as well as re-establishing collaboration and school culture.

Programming has been divided up into seven modules, and 90-minute sessions, including a presentation from a recognized content expert, coupled with small-group professional dialogue around strategies and solutions, for each module will continue to be offered on a weekly basis. Principals are grouped into four cohorts, with two CORE regions in each cohort to meet statewide capacity needs.

Principals from across the state are sharing about the Principal Professional Learning Series:

“The resources that were provided were amazing. I will be able to use those to focus on specific aspects of our needs for teachers, students, and the school. It is nice to know we are all in the same boat, fighting the same battles, and are all working together to help each other across the state.” - Heather Easterling, principal from Washington County

“The remote learning plan and resources from Module 1 have great ideas. There were several ideas mentioned by other principals in regards to online learning that I plan to implement. Excellent resources. I am so thankful to have the opportunity for online TASL credit. It was also great to see my facilitator again. She did my first beginning administrators academy back in 2012! Thanks again for providing this opportunity.” - Ashlee Brackett, principal from Rhea County 

“I really appreciate these sessions. It is helpful to be able to navigate these uncharted waters with others who are in similar boats. Thank you for a platform where we can benefit from a wide range of experience and expertise.” - Kimberly Reese, principal from Humphreys County

“Thanks for the breakout groups because I was able to be in a ‘room’ with a rural principal and that is very rare. It was very informative and I look forward to the upcoming sessions. Thank you for setting this up so that we can be even more prepared for this upcoming year.” -Dr. Menthia P. Bradley, principal from Memphis Business Academy Schools 

“I enjoyed listening to other principals. Although we are geographically far apart, we face many of the same issues.” -Reginald Holmes, principal from Maury County 

“Thanks for the opportunity! ‘Bite-sized' sessions like these are SO helpful and are easy to fit into a daily schedule. Having the whole group presentation along with the breakout rooms is very effective.” -Lisa Earby, principal from Cleveland City Schools

Tennessee Principal Professional Learning Series live sessions are intended for head principals serving in Tennessee public schools. In addition to principals who participate in the live sessions, any assistant principal, supervisor, or central office staff member who participate by watching the recorded sessions are both eligible for TASL credit.

This learning series is being funded by philanthropic support and Tennessee SCORE, and in-kind support will be provided by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, through faculty and staff in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

For additional information on the department’s COVID-19 related resources, please visit https://www.tn.gov/education/health-and-safety/update-on-coronavirus.html. For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov.