Cultivating future school leaders

Participants in the Commission on Lutheran Schools’ (CLS) Apprenticeship Mentoring and Principal program met at the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, Waukesha, Wis., June 20-22, to expand and hone their school leadership skills and repertoire.

About two dozen WELS educators attended between the principal and director apprentices and the leadership candidates. The apprentices are teachers who graduated from the WELS college of ministry, Martin Luther College (MLC) in New Ulm, Minn., within the last two years. As apprentices, they are getting additional training and mentoring having been assigned by the Assignment Committee as principals and early childhood directors. The leadership candidates are more seasoned teachers who have demonstrated the gifts for school leadership positions and participate in the leadership program to prepare for future principal roles.

The attendees participated in a module on school culture and climate presented by Cindi Holman, WELS Early Childhood Ministry national coordinator, and her husband, Mr. Jim Holman, director of Education at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Mr. James Otto, a principal apprentice serving at St. Matthew, Stoddard, Wis., says the value of attending the training extends beyond what they learn in sessions. He says, “The primary reason for being here isn’t just to learn but to connect with the other principal and director apprentices.”

The leadership candidates went through a book study on growth mindset and fixed mindset and how to continue developing their leadership gifts, along with the practical aspects of becoming a principal by getting credentials from MLC.

Mrs. Linda Baumann, a third and fourth grade teacher at Trinity, Jenera, Ohio, has been teaching for 22 years and serves as a mentor to teachers new in the field. She says, “It is valuable to go through the process of ministry development planning to help teachers of all levels of experience improve their instruction for the benefit of the students they serve.”

CLS Associate Director Mr. Tom Plitzuweit says the program started to help meet the need for WELS principals in the schools. “There are people out there who have the gifts, and sometimes they need a little bit of encouragement to get into the principalship, and we know that strong schools need strong leaders. The challenge is finding these individuals and encouraging them to use their gifts for positions of leadership in their schools,” he says. CLS Director Mr. Jim Rademan will address the synod in convention this August on the critical need for well-trained school leaders.

In addition to leadership training, CLS also has an active and nationally recognized accreditation process called WELSSA. In June, Plitzuweit was elected as the vice president of the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA). This is a two-year term, which will be followed by a two-year term serving as president of NCPSA. As part of the NCPSA, any WELS school accredited through WELSSA can receive state, regional, and national accreditation as an educational institution.




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