About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

School leadership in Haiti: THE key to successful student experiences

This past week, one of the world's prestigious universities, MIT, signed an agreement with the Haitian government to support science, technology, and mathematics education in Haiti. One of the comments of one of the MIT faculty was the importance of teaching in Creole/Kreyol. I am encouraged by the willingness of MIT to support this work and whole-heartedly endorse the comment of my colleague there regarding encouraging Creole/Kreyol.

At the same time, I continue to feel that we are working backwards in Haiti. There have been significant efforts to rebuild schools and to train teachers in Haiti. However, the research is clear: effective teaching and effective schooling is facilitated by effective leaders. Send me an email if you need scholarly references for this but the evidence is overwhelming that this is a very strong relationship.

Since that is the case, we need to invest in school leadership in Haiti. Effective principals nurture school environments which are innovative, caring, and strategic. The work we have been doing with supporting school principals so they can learn how to be effective leaders is key to the future success of students in Haiti. The Digital Mentoring Project is one part of this work but there is a continued need to be engaged with face-to-face workshops, formal meetings to engage in problem-solving, and building professional networks to support collaborative work amongst principals.

One of the UN's Millenium Development Goals is universal primary education (UPE). We are a long way from achieving that in Haiti. But I'm skeptical that even if we did have UPE in Haiti we would still be a long way from the social and economic capital we want to see realized there. At the same time as trying to move to UPE we have to ensure that these children are in nurturing, effective schools. And how do we do that? By training school leaders.

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