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MSU Program Seeks to Educate American Indian School Administrators


A Montana State University program that aims to more than triple the number of American Indians serving as principals and superintendents in the state recently received a $1.3 million federal grant to continue its work, the university said.

The program, Indian Leadership and Development or ILEAD, seeks to reduce the administrative turnover at schools where more than half the student population is Indian.

“We know from research that you can’t have quality schools when you have high levels of administrative turnover,” said Joanne Erickson, an MSU education professor. “Quality administrative leadership contributes as much to student achievement as quality teaching.”

The ILEAD program offers American Indian teachers in Montana the opportunity to earn their master’s degree in school administration without having to leave their jobs. The program pays the tuition of participants who commit to teaching in an American Indian school for two years.

The program seeks to place 55 new American Indian principals and superintendents in Montana by 2012. The new grant will allow MSU to expand the Montana program and provide services to place 15 American Indian administrators in South Dakota.

The program currently has 40 participants and a waiting list, school officials said.

ILEAD participants meet once a month at either the Fort Peck Community College or the Little Big Horn Community College and receive online education. During the summer, they spend six weeks at the MSU campus. The curriculum is designed so participants can use their class work to solve problems facing their school.

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