WMU News

Shortage of school administrators prompts leadership academy

March 10, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- A shortage of qualified school administrators in Michigan has prompted Western Michigan University to coordinate an academy for future school leaders Wednesday through Friday, March 25-27, at the WMU Fetzer Center.

The conference, sponsored by the WMU Department of Educational Leadership and Region VII of the Michigan Association of School Administrators, is intended to provide an introduction to the world of school administration and will feature presentations by noted individuals in the field.

More than 50 prospective new administrators will participate in the academy. They will be nominated by school district superintendents in Region VII, which is comprised of 50 districts in Southwest Michigan. Nominees will include current employees of the districts who are considering administration and who have demonstrated leadership and scholarship.

"There is a great shortage of administrators statewide and even greater in the southwest portion of the state," says Lyle F. Sisson, president of Region VII MASA and superintendent of the Sturgis Public Schools. "Some districts have posted jobs and have failed to receive a single application. Where we once received 65 applications, we now get about 12. It is our hope this academy will be a beginning point in the development of a new cadre of school administrators."

Education experts say people are steering away from administration because the compensation is not substantially more than a teacher earns and they're reluctant to take on the additional stress.

Participants in the academy will earn three graduate credits from WMU, which may be applied toward a master's degree in educational leadership.

In addition to the three-day academy, each participant will complete an extensive internship within area schools and will attend a weekend simulation experience designed to highlight the skills necessary to enter administration. The academy and the internship have been designed by superintendents in local schools districts and faculty members in the WMU Department of Educational Leadership.

For further information about the leadership academy, persons should contact their district superintendent or Dr. Van E. Cooley, WMU associate professor of educational leadership, at (616) 387-3891.

Media contact: Julie Paavola; julie.paavola@wmich.edu

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