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August 19, 2008

Gov. Jindal announces $3.4 million grant; ULM praised as state's premier provider for new program

Today Governor Bobby Jindal joined Commissioner of Higher Education Sally Clausen, ULM President James Cofer and other education leaders at the University of Louisiana at Monroe to announce the receipt of a two-year, $3.4 million grant from The Wallace Foundation to support educational leaders across the state.

Governor Jindal said, “This $3.4 million grant from the Wallace Foundation will help our Louisiana schools support and foster more great educational leaders. We know that the key to strengthening our children’s education is to put a good teacher in every classroom, and ensuring that we have innovative educational leaders is critical to supporting the efforts of our dedicated teachers.”

The Wallace Foundation supports the Louisiana Leader Fellows program, which trains and certifies talented teachers to become highly-qualified principals, assistant principals and district leaders. ULM was recently named the state's premier provider for the program during a competitive process earlier this year. Out-of-state and non-affiliated external auditors recognized ULM for its ability to "develop an innovative model that will effectively address the unique needs of the students and geographically-dispersed areas." Louisiana State University at Shreveport ranked second and will also offer the program.

Through their participation in the Fellowship program, 21 teacher leaders are paid up to $70,000 a year, plus a $10,000 summer stipend to serve in K-12 schools as full time educational leadership residents while simultaneously enrolling in the fellowship’s intensive full-time university program that allows them to become certified principals.

Gov. Jindal recognized ULM, the state’s highest-ranking provider, and LSU-S as providers of the Fellowship program.

“I want to congratulate ULM and LSU-S for winning this designation. I can’t think of anything more important to improving our state’s lot in life, to improving our earning power, to improving our health care approach, to decreasing our crime ratio…I can’t think of anything more important than education to accomplishing that,” Jindal said.

Jindal also praised the work being done at ULM to strengthen the partnership between higher education and K-12 systems – a vital step for future success. “We can create models, national models that other states can learn from, and that’s a great endorsement of the efforts that are happening here at ULM and throughout our entire higher education and K-12 systems.”

Commissioner of Higher Education Sally Clausen also highlighted ULM’s achievements. “Right here in Monroe, education is a center of excellence, as is pharmacy, toxicology, health sciences, atmospheric sciences – they’re concentrated on those areas.”

ULM President James Cofer recognized the College of Education and Human Development, touting several recent and national accolades. “At the University of Louisiana at Monroe, our College of Education and Human Development prepares our state’s teachers to succeed on every level. At ULM, we are passionate about empowering talented teachers to become highly effective principals such as those in the Louisiana Leader Fellows Program. We understand education is economic development, and we know that investing in our citizens through higher education benefits our entire state.”


The Wallace Foundation grant funds a collaborative effort between the Office of the Governor, the Louisiana Department of Education, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Board of Regents, and the University of Louisiana System through using various educational leadership initiatives to ensure the state is advancing in its ability to recruit, train and retain qualified school principals.

Richard Laine, Director of Education Programs for The Wallace Foundation said, “We know from research that school leadership is second only to teaching when it comes to impacting student achievement. We also know that there are virtually no documented instances of troubled schools being turned around without effective leaders. We are pleased to support Louisiana’s efforts to create a system that recruits, prepares and supports leaders who are ready to enter high needs schools and be effective.”

Over the last three years, funding from The Wallace Foundation has been utilized to support a variety of educational leadership initiatives. The improvements that were achieved through these grant resources clearly contributed to Louisiana being recognized by the Southern Regional Education Board as the only state that made progress in six key policy areas pertaining to the preparation of principals.

“We have identified about 20 schools in Louisiana that are high-performing, high-poverty schools and the one commonality among them is high-caliber leadership,” State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek said. “But effective school leadership doesn’t just happen; it requires an intense effort to grow and nurture potential leaders. This support from The Wallace Foundation allows us to designate more funding to support leadership development programs and furthers our capacity to produce extraordinary school leaders.”

Some of the funds from the grant announced today will be designated to fund research that specifically addresses the placement and retention of new educational leaders in districts with underperforming schools.

“National research shows all students can achieve higher standards. Groundbreaking research has begun here in Louisiana and this grant will build upon that foundation. As ‘College Begins in Preschool,’ higher education must continue to work closely with its PK-12 partners to ensure every child has a highly qualified teacher and every teacher is supported by a highly qualified principal,” said Clausen.

One of the initiatives funded by the previous grant, and expected to continue, provides support for working partnerships between school districts and universities. Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Southern University in Baton Rouge, the University of New Orleans and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette individually partnered with local school districts to implement redesigned educational leaderships programs.

University of Louisiana President Randy Moffett said, “The University of Louisiana System is committed to producing school leaders that emerge from our programs job-ready with the tools they need to support the work of teachers in moving student achievement to higher levels. We’ve already seen the successful implementation of this work at many of our schools and look forward to continued collaboration between universities and school districts to place these principals in high need areas.”

Commissioner of Higher Education Sally Clausen, ULM President James Cofer and College of Education and Human Development Sandra Lemoine stand with the Louisiana Leader Fellows participants.

LSU Shreveport Chancellor Vincent Marsala said: “LSU Shreveport is honored to benefit from The Wallace Foundation grant for the Louisiana Leaders Fellows Program. We know that strong leadership is an essential ingredient to improving the quality of public education for our children. Having the opportunity to assist in the preparation of the ten Leader Fellows who are participating on our campus is both an honor and a pleasure. We have been very impressed with our cadre of Fellows from across the state and we look forward to working with them over the next year.”

In conjunction with the announcement today, Governor Jindal recognized the 21 teacher leaders participating in the Louisiana Leaders Fellows Program. They are listed below by the school district where they currently serve:

Caddo: Cathy Jiles and Ginger Williams

Calcasieu: Karyl O’Banion, Saberly O’Quain and Gwendolyn Pullard

Iberville: Jane Green

Jefferson: Demetira Hamilton, Lindsay Perkins and Lucretia Robinson-Causey

Lafayette: Tia Trahan

Livingston: Terri Jackson

Monroe City: Marquette Marshall and Paul Roberts

Morehouse: Deborah Stephens

Rapides: Peggy Kessler

St. Charles: Jornea Erwin, Julia Johns, Victoria Preau, and Mellisa Tracy

St. John: Heidi Trosclair

St. Landry: Geri Victorian

Photos by Richard Lupo, University Photo Services
Video courtesy of ULM's Digital Media Studio

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