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Education Policy Fellowship Program

Principal Leadership in Urban Schools

April 26, 2004
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

This seminar is designed to highlight the characteristics, roles, challenges and rewards of being a principal in an urban school district.  It will also address ways in which districts can support and retain principals.  Further, we will take some time to brainstorm ways that we, as citizens and educators, can support principals in our communities and in our state.  Through the discussion of some research, a facilitated scenario and interactions with a panel of practitioners and expert resources, the participants will develop a deeper understanding of principal leadership in urban schools.


EPFP Learning Team Members:

Bill Cecil
Vaenka Davis-Littles
Kathy Fortino
Linda Smith
Susan Tinney
Betty Underwood
Jocelyn Vanda

Resource Persons:

Dr. Ella Burton

Dr. Ella M. Burton is a tenured track faculty member at Eastern Michigan University.  She also teaches in the graduate programs for Masters, Specialist and Doctoral Degrees in Educational Leadership. She has experience as a field and clinical supervisor for Central Michigan University and in program evaluation and assessment from Wayne State University. She held the rank of Associate Professor of Education and Department Chair in the Teacher Education Department at Marygrove College where she was the director for the internationally recognized career changers program – The Marygrove Griots.

Prior to entering the field of higher education, Dr. Burton was a K-12 teacher, elementary principal, middle school principal and superintendent of three different K–12 school districts. She works as an education consultant and a development and training specialist with expertise in mentoring and developing aspiring and seated principals for K-12 school districts.  Most recently she was invited to participate in the State of Michigan, Department of Education Coaches Institute. Dr. Burton earned her Doctorate in Administration from Wayne State University, a Masters Degree in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University and a Bachelors Degree in Education from University of Michigan where she graduated with distinction and high honors.

Mrs. Alona Welch Donerson

Alona Welch Donerson received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and her graduate degree from University of Detroit. She is currently a Principal Coach for Wayne RESA. In this capacity, she provides technical support to three high priority schools in Detroit Public Schools. Alona has been an educator for 30 years, serving seven of those years as a principal. Her final assignment as principal was to provide leadership for two high priority schools, Barbara Jordan Elementary and Hampton Middle School. Her other administrative roles include assistant principal and administrative unit head at both the elementary and middle school levels. As a teacher, her positions included math specialist, computer literacy specialist, Title 1 Math Lab teacher, and mathematics teacher for grades 4-8.

Dr. Carlos Lopez

Dr. Carlos Lopez is the Divisional Director of Bilingual Education for the Detroit Public Schools.

Mr. J. Mark Rainey

Since 1990 Mark Rainey has worked with the Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency.  At Kalamazoo RESA, he has been the Director of the Regional Education Media Center, the Director of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Leadership, and he is currently the Executive Director of the Kalamazoo RESA Leadership Institute. From 1972-1990 Mark Rainey worked in Saginaw Public Schools where he held positions as an Art/Photography teacher, an elementary principal, and an assistant high school principal. He also worked as a Supervisor of Public Relations as well as a Supervisor of Professional Development and Instructional Technology.  Mark Rainey received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University of Southern Mississippi, and he received his Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from Central Michigan University.  He is now a Doctorate of Education Candidate at Western Michigan University. For six years, Mark Rainey has also been an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Leadership at Western Michigan University.

Mr. Barry Rubin

Mr. Barry Rubin retired as an elementary school principal from the Pontiac School District in June, 2003 after 33 years as an educator in Pontiac, 15 as a teacher and 18 as a principal. At Alcott School in Pontiac, he worked with staff to create a school making improvements in step with William Glasser’s Choice Theory.  His school received an internal Pontiac grant for training the whole staff, and Alcott School also received a CSR Grant to work with the ATLAS Communities School Improvement Model. Mr. Rubin is presently involved in ABCS Coaches Institute, MDE/MSU training program for School Improvement Coaches. He is also a School Improvement Consultant for Oakland Schools now working with High Priority schools in both Oak Park and Pontiac. He is an Eastern Campus Facilitator for Transitional Principals Instructional Leadership Series, a joint MDE/Kalamazoo RESA Leadership Institute program for new and aspiring principals throughout the state.  Mr. Rubin taught an Educational Leadership class at Oakland University this past fall.


Resource Materials

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