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sign for Bailey Education Complex
The Jane and David Bailey Education Complex

The Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been chosen by the Tennessee Department of Education to lead and facilitate the 2020 Tennessee Rural Principals Network. Awarded a $250,000 grant to support the network, CEL has partnered with the American Institutes for Research to provide an intensive yearlong collaborative professional learning experience for a cohort of 54 rural school principals from across the Volunteer State.

Selected principals will participate in six all-day in-person professional learning sessions in Middle Tennessee throughout 2020. Participants will be supported through focused leadership coaching and will engage in an ongoing professional dialogue through small virtual conversations called Mastermind Groups.

“The power of this network is the principals,” said Jim McIntyre, director of the center. “The participants will learn with and from each other and tackle tough issues around public education in the rural context. We plan to very intentionally build a professional support network for these remarkable school leaders that will help enhance and strengthen rural schooling across the state.”

Jim. McIntyre, Jr., director of the Center for Educational Leadership, works in the center’s office inside the Bailey Education Complex on February 3, 2020. Photo by Steven Bridges/University of Tennessee

Both Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn have made rural education a top priority. This is the second cohort of principals selected for the prestigious Tennessee Rural Principals Network. With the support of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, the Center for Educational Leadership has also been facilitating a second-year learning experience for the first cohort.

The Center for Educational Leadership began in 2010 as a collaborative effort between the University of Tennessee and local public school districts to grow and support the next generation of outstanding school leaders in our region and to meaningfully enhance educational leadership in Tennessee.


Brian Canever (865-974-0937,

Jules Morris (865-719-7072,