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District Academies and Coaching Supports for School Leaders

Building capacity in school leaders to lead and manage changing schools


Henry County recognizes the importance of school leaders and supports them in a variety of ways. As Henry County started the shift towards blended and personalized learning, they recognized that they also needed to change the way they developed and supported school leaders. Their previous approach focused on developing principals solely through a pipeline of assistant principals. To support the change in instructional approach, however, they needed to create a broader pipeline more focused on leaders that can help lead innovative changes processes within schools. Henry County developed leadership academies and coaching models to best meet this need.

Henry County has created three leadership academies to correspond to different types of leaders and the supports they need.

  • D.R.I.V.E is an academy that supports current principals, placing them in communities of practice with like-minded colleagues and focusing discussions on what it means to be a change management leader.
  • L.E.A.D is an academy for aspiring principals (mostly assistant principals but also some district office staff) and provides supports to help participants figure out how they can best bolster personalized learning in their current and future roles.
  • A.S.P.I.R.E is an academy focused on developing leadership within teachers who will strengthen personalized learning through a variety of roles. Teachers choose these roles based on how best they hope to make an impact within their school, which could be as innovative teachers, project managers, department heads, or possible future principals.

Henry County also promotes leadership development through coaching. V.A.L.U.E Coaching is offered for current principals and assistant principals, helping them grow by improving deficiencies and/or promoting areas of professional growth. One-to-one coaching is provided based on each leader’s leadership style. M.O.D.E.L coaching is provided to new principals, known as induction-level principals in Henry County, for their first two years. These principals receive additional support from the district and a coach to help them on various aspects of running a school. They also participate in a cohort with other new principals to address challenges in their work, especially in the context of personalized learning.

Henry County’s investment in developing capacity for leaders to innovate and create change within their schools continues to contribute to their success in delivering personalized instruction.