Oxford, Ohio 45056
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Miami Education Dept. Working with Dayton
OXFORD, Ohio -- Miami University's department of educational
leadership is living up to its name.
The department, recognized as one of the strongest in the country, is
helping develop future principals for the Dayton Public Schools, as many
long-time administrators prepare to retire.
In fact, the Dayton School Board anticipates that one-third of its
administrative staff and 40 percent of its principals will retire within the
next five years. The problem, however, doesn't end there. Many
superintendents and principals believe the quality of applicants has declined
over the years and they are concerned about the caliber of those who will
That's where Miami comes in. About 10 years ago, the faculty in Miami's
department of educational leadership took a hard look at themselves and their
national colleagues. The result didn't thrill them.
They saw educational administration programs that produced bureaucrats
rather than leaders. Programs primarily focused on management techniques that
barely addressed the moral or ethical dimensions of schooling. Miami's
professors decided it was time for a change. "Reform was an internal decision,"
says Nelda Cambron-McCabe, former chair of the department. "We simply felt we
could design a stronger program."
"There has been a quiet, non-radical revolution in the department," says
Patrick B. Forsyth, executive director of the national University Council for
Educational Administration. "It was early, but it continues. Miami does stand
The fundamental principles behind the reform were to
develop a program for educators that looked at leadership as an
intellectual, moral and craft practice, with the intent of taking the applied
aspect of school administration to a higher level.
Faced with a critical shortage of administrators, the Dayton schools are
joining with Miami to develop a team approach to prepare future leaders. The
Dayton/Miami Leadership program started this fall and will train 17 new
principals for the district. These participants were chosen from more than 100
The preparation program takes three years of part-time study. The students
will continue teaching in the Dayton schools while they are involved. Classes
are held in Dayton and on Miami's Middletown campus.
Gary Payne, Miami's coordinator of the program, believes the collaborative
approach to the preparation of school administrators makes good sense for
schools and universities. "Both institutions can make significant
contributions to the preparation of these new leaders," he said.