Aspiring Administrators

Poplar Bluff School District helps foster future administrators ‚Äč
Posted on 09/19/2023
Candace Warren and Mike Owen lead a class for aspiring administrators.

A program for teachers seeking to become administrators has been reinstated at Poplar Bluff Schools in order to help continue to develop leaders internally.

A total of 23 faculty members attended the opening session on Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the Administrative Building, with teachers ranging in experience from a few years into their tenure to over 20. Some attendees were working toward their master’s degree in administration, while at least one had already obtained a doctorate.

“It was weighing on me – that we need to pour our experience and knowledge into these teachers, and give our aspiring administrators guidance and exposure to practical, real-life situations,” explained Junior High Principal Candace Warren, the voluntary instructor. “I feel like we do a lot for our new teachers through TIPSS [teacher induction program support system], but we had a hole for aspiring administrators – other than them going to their building administrator to ask, ‘Can I help do this?’”

Warren, who is teaching a similar graduate-level course for Central Methodist University, reached out to the superintendent cabinet in January to propose the class, and a staff-wide interest survey was put out shortly thereafter completed by 36 employees. Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Mike Owen agreed to co-teach the class. Other administrators will serve as guest speakers as well, Warren noted.

“There’s not much in a college textbook that’s going to prepare you to navigate all of these situations,” Warren continued. “It’s a lot of on-the-job coming at you, and my hope is that this support will give them an edge when they are going for an administrative job someday.”

The class runs from September through April on the second Tuesday of each month after school. Topics include: leadership style, school culture, curriculum planning, data-driven instruction, staff development, community engagement, budgeting and conflict resolution, according to the syllabus. Each lesson will feature a hypothetical scenario to work through in groups.

Warren pointed out how she previously participated in the district’s Leadership Academy during the 2014/15 school year under then Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Dr. Amy Jackson, and “got a lot out of it.” The program was originally instated by former Superintendent Chris Hon when he oversaw human resources, and also included some future principals.

“A lot of our administrators came from within,” said Owen who, along with Warren, spent his entire career at R-I beginning as a classroom teacher. “It’s good to have a larger view of everything—the inner workings—even if folks decide not to pursue it. College classes can’t prepare you enough; you need to start doing.”

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Cutline: Poplar Bluff Junior High Principal Candace Warren and R-I Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Mike Owen host a class for aspiring administrators within the school system last week in the Administrative Building.

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