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Kern Family Foundation awards College of Education $2.49 million grant to develop unique leadership program

Lipscomb's College of Education is one of the nation's best teacher preparation programs. Through the Kern Family Foundation grant, the College of Education will offer a new interdisciplinary program to train school leaders across Tennessee.

Kim Chaudoin  | 

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Nashville education leaders joined the Lipscomb community May 7 to celebrate the College of Education's $2.49 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation.

Lipscomb University’s College of Education, ranked one of the top in the nation for teacher preparation, has been awarded a $2.49 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation to develop an innovative leadership development program for principals focused on character, academic excellence and business acumen in the rising generation of leaders.

The Kern Family Foundation is an organization that invests in systemic change to enrich American lives through sustainable programs focused on forming good character, providing quality education, instilling an entrepreneurial mindset, and rediscovering the value of work.  

Lipscomb’s Reimagining Principal Preparation program is a unique approach to K-12 leadership training that will incorporate character education, leadership development, business acumen and conflict management among other key components in a collaboration led by Lipscomb’s College of Education with the institution’s nationally ranked College of Business and Institute for Conflict Management.

The initial focus of the program is to reach Tennessee schools and districts that do not have existing resources to develop internal leadership programs with the long-term goal of expanding the model as well. The five-year Kern Family Foundation grant awarded to Lipscomb will support the new Reimagining Principal Preparation program, including resources as the college develops the program and scholarships for attendees among other programmatic needs. 
 

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Beth Purvis, senior program director, education and character program for the Kern Family Foundation, speaks to the crowd gathered to celebrate the grant announcement.

The initial focus of the program is to reach Tennessee schools and districts that do not have existing resources to develop internal leadership programs with the long-term goal of expanding the model as well. The five-year Kern Family Foundation grant awarded to Lipscomb will support the new Reimagining Principal Preparation program, including resources as the college develops the program and scholarships for attendees among other programmatic needs. 

“Lipscomb University’s College of Education has a strong reputation for preparing teachers and school leaders, and this partnership with the Kern Family Foundation will allow us to better equip school leaders to be successful in their very complex and vitally important roles,” said Deborah Boyd, dean of Lipscomb’s College of Education.

Strong leadership and character development are key components in all of the College of Education’s existing programs, said Boyd.

“Receiving this grant is recognition of the alignment between the goals of the Kern Family Foundation and the College of Education,” she said. “The programs we have in place are working, and this grant provides us further opportunity to deepen that work and continue to make a positive impact on educational outcomes across Tennessee. Our intention is for this new program to become a sustainable model for other organizations or systems to follow.”

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College of Education Dean Deborah Boyd at a gathering to celebrate the grant announcement on May 7.

Lipscomb University’s College of Education has a strong reputation for preparing teachers and school leaders, and this partnership with the Kern Family Foundation will allow us to better equip school leaders to be successful in their very complex and vitally important roles. — Deborah Boyd, dean, Lipscomb College of Education

Boyd said the over-arching goal of this program is to reimagine standards for educational leadership with an evidence-based approach, preparing principals equipped to channel financial and human resources toward academic success and character development. The resulting curriculum will also enhance school leaders’ business acumen and conflict management skills.

“We hope to create a culture change,” said Boyd, “one that will drive high quality academic outcomes and whole child development through preparing leaders at the highest levels. The strength of schools can determine the strength of communities, and effective school leaders are central to that.”

Lance Forman, director of educational leadership in Lipscomb’s College of Education, is leading this new initiative. Forman, a former Metro Nashville Public Schools principal, will lead curriculum development for this new program, which builds on the college’s existing leadership program.

Components of the new leadership program include:

  • Master’s and Education Specialist degree programs in leadership with three cohorts of up to 30 students in each;
  • Evidence-based and performance-based assessments focused on character, leadership, business acumen, and conflict management;
  • Professional mentoring, with training offered in collaboration with the College of Education’s Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation; and
  • A job-embedded internship.  


“This grant gives us the opportunity to reimagine our leadership program to better equip those in the program to manage real-world demands they face as school leaders,” said Forman. “This will also help us develop a network across the state including in more rural areas to help those schools and districts build an internal leadership pipeline. I am particularly pleased that through this grant we will be able to offer scholarships to those who might not be able to access these resources otherwise.”

Forman said Lipscomb’s College of Education is already partnering with seven districts in Southwest and South Central Tennessee, and resources provided through the Kern Family Foundation grant will allow the college to serve more districts throughout the state.

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Lipscomb's College of Education received a $2.49 million Kern Family Foundation grant to train school leaders across the state.

After a year of development, the program will launch in fall 2019. For more information, contact Forman at lance.foreman@lipscomb.edu. 

The Lipscomb University College of Education’s secondary education teacher preparation program is ranked one of the top in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality in its 2017 rankings. The nationwide study names Lipscomb University as one of only 16 programs in the nation designated a “Top Tier” institution and one of only six programs in the country ranked in the 99th percentile. Lipscomb was the only university in Tennessee to receive the “Top Tier” designation.

This is the latest recognition of the quality and effectiveness of Lipscomb’s College of Education. For seven consecutive years, Lipscomb University has been recognized as one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in Tennessee as it earned top scores on the 2018 Teacher Preparation Report Card released by the Tennessee State Board of Education.

In the NCTQ’s last ranking the College of Education’s secondary teacher preparation program shared the No. 1 ranking in the nation by the NCTQ in its 2014 Teacher Prep Review. The college’s graduate program in the elementary grades was named No. 14 in the nation. Since that review, the NCTQ restructured its ranking structure. In 2015 Lipscomb's College of Education was ranked the No. 15 best value in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality. In addition, the college was ranked among NCTQ's 35 "Top Colleges for Content Preparation" in the nation.
 

This grant gives us the opportunity to reimagine our leadership program to better equip those in the program to manage real-world demands they face as school leaders. — Lance Forman, director of educational leadership, Lipscomb College of Education

Lipscomb’s College of Education was selected by the Tennessee State Board of Education to take a leading role and to train more than 2,000 teachers statewide in its literacy campaign, Read to be Ready. Lipscomb faculty were hired in 2016 to train more than 140 educators selected to conduct 20 summer literacy camps at their schools, as part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Read to be Ready initiative that was funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The summer camps involved more than 600 students last year at 20 sites across the state. After the success last year, the State Department of Human Services provided a $30 million grant to host up to 350 literacy camps this year affecting up to 10,000 students, and once again education professors Ally Hauptman, Michelle Hasty, and Julie Simone were hired to share their expertise on how to motivate young students to read using research-based best practices for about 2,500 camp coordinators statewide.

In 2015, the College of Education was ranked the No. 15 best value in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality. In addition, the college was ranked among NCTQ's 35 "Top Colleges for Content Preparation" in the nation. The College of Education was named the 2016 Model of Excellence in Partnerships by the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.

For more information about Lipscomb University’s College of Education, visit education.lipscomb.edu.
 

— Photos by Kristi Jones