New Program Prepares Future Principals Print this post

By Dr. Vikki Parks (Special to the Florida Catholic0


In keeping with the recommendations of the Florida Catholic Conference Accreditation Standards for Governance and Leadership the Education Department of the Diocese of Venice initiated a Principal Discernment training program to identify and develop potential school leaders within the Diocese.

Principal Discernment Training graduates (left to right) Kate Hamstra, Bambi Giles, David Nelson, Mary Gurley, Maria Niebhur with their diplomas at the Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation in Port Charlotte on April 7.

Principal’s recommended teacher leaders and assistant principals interested in learning more about the career path for principals. The participants who participated in the eight-month program were: Kate Hamstra and Maria Niebhur, both of St. Francis Xavier Catholic School, Fort Myers; Mary Gurley, St. Elizabeth Seton School Catholic School, Naples; and Bambi Giles, St. Andrew Catholic School, Cape Coral; and David Nelson, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, Fort Myers.

The monthly sessions included shadowing current school leaders and internship project assignments. The professional development series included sessions essential for principal competencies such as; Mission and Catholic identity, leading a learning professional learning community, using data to improve instruction, and the role of the school leader in strengthening the faith formation.

“I felt the mock interviews with feedback was of tremendous value for all of us, and the writing assignment was extremely interesting and authentic,” program participant Kate Hamstra reflected. It is a great opportunity for us to interact with successful administrators in our Diocese and be able to learn from them. It inspired me to reflect upon all of the different experiences you opened us up to and how much I really learned through this process.”

With the success of this first program, the Diocese of Venice Education Department seeks to expand the program and offer it annually to identify and develop the leadership capacity of the talented educators in our Diocese.

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