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.
“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.”