PEMBROKE – UNC-Pembroke School of Education has been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to address the shortage of American Indian administrators in the state’s public school districts with a large American Indian student population.
American Indians represent less than one percent of school administrators in North Carolina.
The First Americans’ Educational Leadership project will provide financial assistance and professional development support to American Indian students seeking a Master of School Administration degree at UNCP.
“The School of Education is so honored to be funded by the U.S. Department of Education for this grant,” said Alfred Bryant, dean of the School of Education.
“We have a very successful track record receiving U.S. Department of Education grants aimed at increasing the number of American Indian teachers. However, this is the first time we have received this grant that increases the number of American Indian school administrators,” he added. “This grant will be a great asset to our university and our partnering counties.”
The project, which will be funded for five years, is designed to improve the quality of preparation services and culturally responsive leadership offered to American Indian graduates.
Camille Goins, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Specialties, will serve as project director.
“We are really excited and looking forward to implementing this program,” Goins said. “With this program, we will be able to provide the support and professional development our students need to be successful and highly effective in the field.”
The FAEL project is an Indian Education Professional Development grant funded by the Office of Indian Education.
The project will serve 20 students. The initial group of 10 program participants will be enrolled in January 2019 and 10 additional students will be enrolled by January 2020.
Funds will be used to help with tuition, books, exam fees, stipend, childcare, mentoring services, among others. Funds will also be available to cover the cost of membership in a professional school leadership association.
The project is designed to help participants attain a Master of School Administration degree or an Add-on in School Administration. Additionally, it will help graduate students acquire a principal licensure and complete two years of administration with ongoing support and professional development through induction support.
UNCP will partner with the Lumbee Tribe, Public Schools of Robeson County, Hoke County Schools and Scotland County Schools to provide training and securing placement for project participants.
The project will provide on-going professional development, mentoring support and induction services to participants that allows them to improve educational outcomes for American Indian students.
Goins anticipates the 20 students will find qualifying jobs within 12 months of completion.
University officials said they expect the project to boost the number of American Indian students enrolled in the Master of School Administration Program.
The recruitment process will be rigorous. They will be seeking individuals currently serving as teacher leaders who have a strong desire and commitment to becoming an administrator in a highly populated American Indian school.
“This university was established to train American Indian teachers and with this program we are building upon that foundation with a focus on the administrative role,” Goins said.
Mark Locklear is the public communications specialist with University Communications and Marketing at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.