‘Lead Principals’ Will Help Shrink Central Office: Register

The superintendent of Metro Schools is handing more control to a group of select principals. So-called “lead principals” will decide on their own about hiring and budgeting while mentoring leaders at other schools.

Dr. Jesse Register - WPLN/Daniel Potter

Dr. Jesse Register – WPLN/Daniel Potter

The move is part of a push to streamline bureaucracy (PDF) in the district’s central office. Superintendent Jesse Register says it’s long bothered him when talented principals who are getting good results in their schools are promoted to the district’s headquarters.

“I want them to stay in their schools but I want them to grow their influence. And we do that by having them work with networks of principals – about five, for each of them.”

Metro plans to grow from a small initial group of lead principals to thirty in the next few years. They’ll run their own schools, and take a day or two a week to mentor. Dottie Critchlow is the lead principal for a group around Hickman Elementary in Donelson.

“We know what they’re crying about, they know what I’m crying about at my school. Things that are really challenging – we’re able to share that, and it’s a safe way to share. Sometimes when you share with a supervisor you’re not sure how it’s going to affect you.”

It’s not yet clear what the transition will mean for the headcount at the central office, or for the district’s budget.

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