School principals to get more teaching experience in Alabama

By Melanie Posey

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) – There is a major revolution going on in Alabama's education system; the state is working to change the perception and the reality of what a school principal is all about.

The 13 universities across the state that used to have a "school administrator" masters degree have redesigned their educational leadership programs, making them more selective and requiring more hands on experience inside of schools. It takes the image of the principal as the manager of the building to being the head master, or the top teacher.  

"If you had to identify one person in the building who had the greatest impact on student achievement, it's the principal," said Dr. Gene Bottoms of the Southern Research Educational Board, the organization guided Alabama's restructuring efforts. "This state has taken a blueprint and carried it forward more fully than any state in the region has done so."

Bottoms presented the board's findings to State Superintendent Joe Morton and Governor Bob Riley on Thursday afternoon.  

"We have taken a state that's habitually been 49th - 50th and turned it into something remarkable," Riley said.  

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