Dublin Villager

New prinicipals to benefit from mentorship program

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Five new Dublin principals will get the benefit of years of experience free of charge.

The new principals and assistant principals in the district will participate in the Beginning Principal Mentorship Program thanks to a Race to the Top Grant sponsored program at the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators.

The Race to the Top grant supports student achievement, and Ric Weininger, grant director for Race to the Top in Ohio and a soon-to-be Dublin Board of Education member, said that extends to administration.

"The primary factor for increasing student achievement is an effective classroom teacher, but what the research also shows is the second factor is leadership," he said.

"Through the Race to the Top grant ODE wanted a mentor program for principals to improve that leadership component."

Sells Middle School Principal Rich Baird and Chapman Elementary School Principal Scott Zeoli will offer their expertise as mentors for the program.

Martha Barley, Bailey Elementary School principal; Lauren DeMars, Indian Run Elementary School assistant principal; Mark Mousa, Karrer Middle School principal; Brooke Menduni, Karrer Middle School assistant principal; and Andy Wilkinson, Jerome High School assistant principal; have been paired with mentors.

The program holds two major components for new administrators, Weininger said.

"The actual beginning principal gets five days of professional development," he said, noting the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators offered four days of professional development and ODE funded another.

The new principals are then paired with a mentor.

"The mentoring component is a series of meetings and building the relationship between the mentor and principal," Weininger said.

"The mentor is someone not from their district so they can be open and honest ...," he said.

"They are meeting face-to-face at least monthly. They have the opportunity to bounce ideas off and ask someone questions."

The grant funds the mentorship program for one year, but Weininger said administrators can continue the relationship afterwards.

As a former Dublin principal, he said it is nice to have someone to talk to.

"It's really interesting. I've been an elementary, high school and middle school principal," Weininger said.

"One thing in the elementary principal role is it's a very lonely position. You don't have fellow administrators to bounce ideas off of and talk about situations," he said.

"At the secondary level you have principals trying to do a good job. It's always good to have that second voice you can contact and really help you through the situation."

Another major benefit of the program is it offers training at no expense.

"It is at no cost to the district except to release the principal for the time they have to go to professional development," Weininger said. "That is a true savings for the district."