Thursday, November 18, 1999
Terry Lightfoot (510) 987-9194



The University of California, continuing its involvement in raising the quality of the state’s public education system, announced Thursday (Nov. 18) the formation of special institutes to prepare a new generation of principals with the vision, commitment and skills to tackle the toughest challenges in California's schools.

Based at UC Berkeley and UCLA, the Principal Leadership Institutes – an administrative credential and masters degree program for working professionals – will transform the best and brightest teachers and administrators into principals who can oversee many of the reforms needed in the state's public schools.

At full capacity, the institutes will enroll 400 students, whose fees will be paid for by the university through an annual investment of $2 million in scholarships. The institutes will enroll the first group of students in July 2000.

"We know that great principals help make great schools," said UC President Richard C. Atkinson. "The Principal Leadership Institutes reflect UC's strong commitment to K-12 improvement from the bottom to the top of California's public school system."

The institutes are one of several education initiatives forwarded by Gov. Gray Davis, including the K-3 Reading Professional Development Institutes, a UC-led collaborative with California State University and K-12, which worked with more than 6,000 reading teachers this summer.

"No single person at a school is more important to student achievement than the school principal," said state Secretary for Education Gary K. Hart. "As CEO of a school, a principal must combine knowledge of successful teaching methods with effective leadership and management skills. By proposing the Governor's Principal Leadership Institutes at the University of California, Governor Davis hopes to offer world-class management training to school principals in order to help them create more successful schools."

The institutes will give principals the skills to address disparities in learning environments and to provide equal access to rich educational opportunities. Prospective principals will be provided with the academic understanding, analytic skills and interdisciplinary perspectives needed to meet heightened demands for improved student performance and school-level accountability.

Atkinson called on school superintendents to nominate candidates for the program. "We are seeking individuals of the highest academic caliber with a sincere commitment to work in the most challenging schools in California," he said.

Students must meet campus admission criteria and commit to working in urban or hard-to-staff schools for four years.

Once enrolled in the 15-month program, students will be taught by faculty from a cross-section of UC’s professional schools, including law, business, public policy and education.

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