For the next couple of days, The Principals’ Office will feature reflections from participants in the Peer Assisted Leadership Services (PALS) training program taking place now at the NAESP headquarters. PALS trains mentors to play a vital role in the future of new principals, their leadership, and their schools by certifying them to become a National Principal Mentor. The first part of this process is a three-day Leadership Immersion Institute to sharpen and develop administrative and leadership skills to mentor aspiring or new principals. Here are the principals who will share their experiences:

From left, to right:Jan Conway, principal of Glen Avenue Elementary School in Salisbury, Maryland Joyce Dunn, principal of Pittsville Elementary and Middle School in Pittsville, MarylandKathy Woodley, principal of West Springfield Elementary School in Springfield, VirginiaDwayne Young, principal of Centreville Elementary School in Centreville, Virginia

PALS Training—Day One

Dwayne reflects on why he decided to become a mentor:

One of the influential leaders in my life, Dr. Loretta Webb, always challenged us to “lift others as we climb.” Her challenge was to always consider the positive impact we can have on others through our learning and our work, just as others have had upon us. By participating in PALS, I hope to gain the skills to offer confidence and encouragement to a beginning principal to find his or her own way. I also hope that this will be a personal and professional growth opportunity for me.

Jan and Joyce give details about what they learned about mentoring:

We were actively engaged the entire day, learning that mentoring is more than a workplace process. The professional, personal, emotional, and physical needs of our protégés must be included in the process. So far, the PALS training has provided us an opportunity to get to know conference participants and to share fabulous ideas. We’re working together to promote and strengthen the profession that we love.

Kathy explains one of the reflective exercises:

The first day of the PALS training was an awesome experience. After introductions, we were asked to make a timeline with the names of persons who have mentored us to become principals and then to use one word that described what they had done. I shared that one of my first principals had seen potential in me that I did not realize I possessed. Her vision, encouragement, and belief in me were the “evidence” of her impact on my life.

The interaction and dialogue with colleagues has been powerful, and I felt affirmation of my decision to participate in this training. I am excited about tomorrow and am eager to continue by journey to becoming a mentor.

Check back tomorrow to find out about day two of the PALS training.