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KNOXVILLE—Governor Bill Haslam paid a visit to the University of Tennessee’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences last week to get a briefing on the Center for Educational Leadership.

Haslam was in Knoxville for the UT Board of Trustees annual meeting.

Gov. Haslam visits CEHHS
Governor Bill Haslam, fourth from left, with faculty from UT’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences and faculty, staff and fellows from the Leadership Academy. On Haslam’s left is Bob Rider, dean of the college. On Haslam’s right is Autumn K. Tooms, a professor of educational leadership and policy studies and former school principal, and Jim McIntyre, superintendent of the Knox County Schools.

Established in June 2010, the Center for Educational Leadership provides rigorous training for aspiring school leaders in a way that bridges the gap between theory and practice. The center’s components include the Leadership Academy, which provides an intensive fifteen-month postgraduate degree program in educational administration for a select group of fellows, a professional development task force that works with aspiring and new school administrators around the state of Tennessee, and a repository that houses current research on the best practices in the field of educational leadership.

Haslam met with staff and community stakeholders in the center and spoke with fellows in the Leadership Academy.

“Great schools have great principals,” Haslam told the gathering. “Increasing the pipeline of quality leaders for Tennessee schools is of utmost importance.”

Bob Rider, dean of the college, said “the fact that Governor Haslam took time from his extremely busy and demanding schedule to meet with the Leadership Academy fellows, faculty, and college administration is a testament to his support of education in Tennessee. His visit also demonstrates the prominence the academy has gained with regard to its role in the preparation of school leaders.”

The center’s second cohort of aspiring principals began their fifteen-month course of study on June 1. The first class of twelve—all teachers or assistant principals in Knox County Schools—will complete the program in July 2011 and graduate in December 2011.

“The results of our first year show the training model used in the Leadership Academy works,” said center director Autumn K. Tooms, a professor of educational leadership and policy studies and former school principal. “Aspiring administrators were carefully selected as fellows by a panel of both practitioners and academics. These students were given a rigorous scope and sequence of courses, and 100 percent of the first cohort of fellows were placed in school leadership positions.”

The Leadership Academy is a collaborative venture of UT Knoxville and the Knox County Schools.

Renee Kelly, a fellow in the first class of aspiring principals to attend the Leadership Academy, is now an assistant principal at West Valley Middle School.

“[Attending the Academy] made me a better administrator because, unlike in other leadership preparation programs, I had the opportunity to intensively apply what I was learning every day at my school,” Kelly told the governor.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,