Marian University in Indianapolis is one of six schools or school districts signed up with the George W. Bush Institute to train school principals in business-like management techniques.
Marian President Dan Elsener was expected to join former first lady Laura Bush on Wednesday morning in Dallas to announce the launch of the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership, or AREL. The alliance will consist of a network of school districts, universities and foundations offering educational programs to current and hopeful school leaders.
“Great leadership is the lifeblood of any organization, and the well-being of children from across our state depends upon having a great leader in every school building,” Elsener said in a prepared statement.
Marian, a small but growing Catholic school, started a new program for principal training this month, hoping to enroll 100 each year. Called the Marian University Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership, the effort is being funded by a $500,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Education as well as support from the Wisconsin-based Kern Family Foundation.
Other schools signed up for the Bush Institute’s network are the public school districts in Dallas and Plano, Texas; the business schools at the University of Denver and St. Louis University; and the education school at Southern Methodist University, where the Bush Institute will be based.
Texas-based AT&T is contributing $1 million as initial funding for the alliance. Various education organizations are also collaborating with the alliance, including Teach for America and the Council for Education Change.
The Bush Institute has set a goal of certifying at least half of the nation's public school principals through the program by 2020.
James W. Guthrie, senior fellow and director of education policy studies at the Institute, said the alliance will seek students who want to manage schools better, including expanding the roles of principals to act more like CEOs.
“We want to help school leaders succeed, Guthrie said in a prepared statement. “By marshalling the resources, intellect and skills of both the public and private sectors, our vision is to change the paradigm by which school principals in the United States are identified, recruited, selected, prepared, evaluated, certified, and empowered."