CHARLESTON, W.Va. – They’re at the top of their class, these principals and assistant principals from around the state who gathered Thursday to honor 18 distinguished scholars from the West Virginia Principals’ Leadership Academy.

Brenda Walker, a first-year assistant principal at Preston High School, said the academy was a huge help in preparing her for a new administrative role.

Jennifer Smith/MetroNews

Preston High assistant principal Brenda Walker (left) says the training she received through the leadership academy was a great help.

“It was a great opportunity for me to learn some things, to get me on the right path and start out in the right direction,” Walker said.

That’s exactly what her school needed, considering Preston County is currently under state control. Walker said lessons learned at the academy were invaluable, including a research project she’s implementing.

“There were so many needs that I could have focused on. I decided to kind of hit the big picture and go for school culture and promoting a positive school culture,” she explained.

She called her project “Drawbridge Connecting to the Castle”—a take on the school’s mascot, the Knights. Starting with the first day of class, Walker wanted her students to invest in their school. She hooked them in with class challenges and games that brought the student body closer together.

“When you impact the school culture, you can impact the entire (school), attendance, drop-out rates and all those things,” she said.

The academy is sponsored by the West Virginia Center for Professional Development.

“The biggest thing I took away from it was the networking,” Walker said. “Every time I come to a meeting in Charleston or somewhere around the state, I run into someone from my class and can stop and say hello. It’s a good chance to share ideas.”

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  • Minco

    School culture is a good area of focus. The school where I teach has a great culture that emphasizes achievement and cooperation. This has resonated into great results as we have been rated as exemplary many times.

  • john deere

    Ask the teachers , WHY the new bus routes ?
    Most of the public was happy with the one run.

  • lifetimehunter

    Just watch the bus route antics here. enough said.

  • Dr G


    Please explain.

  • lifetimehunter

    Preston high is under state control to fix the problems the state created. No pat on the back for them here.

  • Joe

    What they need is support from union teachers.

    • Robert

      One post in and the "union" card has been played...Well done sir...Well done.

      • Joe

        No problem. Glad to chime in with the far majority opinion of the states taxpayers.

        Wait, what am I saying, raises will fix all the education problems.

  • Spell Checker

    Now, if they would only get support from the administrators at their local boards......