Baldwin County Public Schools has launched a new mentor program for elementary school principals across the county. According to Tiffany Wilson, director of human resources, this year's chosen mentor …
Baldwin County Public Schools has launched a new mentor program for elementary school principals across the county.
According to Tiffany Wilson, director of human resources, this year's chosen mentor is Robbie Owen, principal of Rockwell Elementary School in Spanish Fort and former superintendent of BCPS.
Wilson said the program will work in conjunction with the new administrator training, which takes place each semester for two years.
"New principals and assistant principals go through a training for two years and are placed into cohorts," Wilson said. "We go over big topics that they need to be aware of, like financial responsibilities, how to evaluate employees, Title 9 training and other topics that they will need to cover in their role."
Wilson said the goal of the new principal mentor program is to provide newer administrators with someone more experienced to whom they can reach out for advice and support.
"Our mission at HR is to recruit, retain and support, and this falls under the support branch of HR," Wilson said. "We began three years ago, offering training sessions for administrators to gain support in their role and prepare them for our high expectations. We added this program this year to make sure our principals have someone they can reach out to and ask confidential questions to, someone who doesn't evaluate them and someone they can trust."
Wilson said that while the program is only open to elementary level principals this year, the school board plans to extend the program to secondary principals starting next school year.
"Mr. Owen is helping this year with a smaller group, and we are running it like a pilot program," Wilson said. "Next year, we will include secondary principals and select a different mentor. We have also developed a calendar that rotates the topics covered at the new admin. training, that is reviewed by our newer principals.
"I think the opportunity for our brand new principals to develop close relationships with a mentor who has experience they can share is very unique. It's about intentionally applying the lessons learned in trainings to help them be successful, which will tie to employee success and student success."
However, the school board doesn't only extend mentorship opportunities to principals; they also offer a mentorship program for new teachers. Wilson said that new teachers who have recently graduated college are paired with a mentor for one-on-one sessions for three years, and experienced teachers who are new to the county are paired with a mentor for one to two semesters.
"Teacher mentors are chosen and partnered with a new teacher from every campus, and we have over 300 new teacher mentors this year," Wilson said.
Wilson said the mentors are chosen through an application or by principal recommendation.
"I think what makes these programs unique is that we have specifically developed these programs for the mission of Baldwin County. In HR, every choice we make has the potential to impact a child in our district, and we take that very seriously," Wilson said. "It shows not only our dedication to the students but also to our employees. Who better to train new teachers than the best teachers in our district, and there are so many to pick from."