To improve the quality of education offered at schools in Egypt and the region, the Graduate School of Education at The American University in Cairo, launched the Principals Academy. The first of its kind in the region, the Academy offers practicing and aspiring principals professional development opportunities in school leadership theory, community and global educational issues, and worldwide educational research. Through several methods, including seminars, workshops, conferences and networking, participants are able to grow professionally with skills to advance their schools and to enhance student performance.
“The position of an education leader is a lonesome one because few people share this responsibility. Based on this realization, the idea of launching the Principals Academy was developed,” said Peggy Norman, director of the Principals Academy and associate professor of practice. She added, “Education leadership is critical in preparing students who are capable of succeeding in today’s demanding world. Under this premise, the academy operates within the context of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium’s standards, which emphasize the connection between effective educational leadership and producing a capable cohort of students.”
Norman noted that the Academy currently works exclusively with international and experimental schools in Cairo, but, ultimately, she aspires to extend its reach across Egypt and the region.
The Principals Academy consists primarily of a series of one day workshops designed around a central leadership theme; participants apply knowledge acquired and return for follow up and continuing development as the workshop series progresses. The central theme for 2012 is The Art of Leading in Times of Transition, which addresses issues such as the integration of technology, methods of sharing information, identifying resources and crisis management.
“I have found people who have much in common, who care to develop teaching and learning process, and with whom I enjoy gaining new experiences,” said Heba Salama, head of the English department for kindergarten and primary at Al Hoda Azhar International Schools in Sixth of October and a participant in a workshop on technology.