Lawmakers Consider Ways To Train And Keep Better Principals

Feb 26, 2016

Credit Jess Clark / WUNC

State lawmakers are looking into ways to train better school principals and keep them in schools that need them.

Members of a legislative committee on educator quality heard Thursday from successful school principals about the skills they used to turn around low-performing schools and how to reduce principal turnover.

Pascal Mubenga is the former principal of a Jones County high school where his students’ growth on state tests went from dismal to well above average in just a few years. Mubenga, who is now superintendent of Franklin County schools, told legislators higher paying jobs lure many good principals away from schools that need them.

“We've got to make sure we are keeping those principals that have been successful in schools. We’ve got to find a way to reward them," he said.

Mubenga added that keeping good principals in schools also creates a pipeline of better administrators because it allows principals time to train their assistant principals in best practices.

Leading Republicans have signaled interest in raising principal pay in the coming short session.

The committee also heard presentations about principal training programs used in Florida and Illinois. Legislation folded into last year's budget sets a timeline for the state to create its own new principal preparation program.