By Alex Davidson
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein appointed two superintendents from Queens last week to key posts in the city Department of Education’s leadership academy that wants to enhance student performance by increasing new and current principals’ management skills.
District 26 Superintendent Claire McIntee and District 28 Superintendent Neil Kreinik, two veterans in the borough’s education system, will help to introduce leadership development initiatives from the private sector into public schools.
“I am excited, but it’s also an enormous challenge,” said McIntee, who will be vice president for principal development. “We will be combining management and instructional development for principals.”
District 26, which covers Bayside and most of northeast Queens, is the best performing district in the city.
The academy will have a three-tiered system: the Aspiring Principals track, dedicated to training those wanting to be principals; the Principals on Board track, which will deal with recent hires promoted or assigned to become principals; and the Principal Leadership Development program designed for experienced principals.
McIntee, who will lead the Principal Leadership Development program, said she will use her past 19 years as an education administrator to help principals deal with both everyday problems and administrative details. She said the goal of the academy is also to get all 1,200 principals at the city’s 1,200 schools coordinated on the new curriculum.
“We will be accountable for impacting the schools through the principals,” said McIntee, who was also a teacher in the Bronx for 17 years. “I will be working with smart, accomplished people, and we well keep learning and growing together.”
Kreinik will lead the on-board program and also said he plans to incorporate lessons he learned in the past into the new academy. He said he has already implemented a similar, smaller training academy in District 28 that has yielded higher test scores and other improvements in the overall education of his students.
District 28 stretches from Forest Hills through Richmond Hill to Jamaica.
“(The academy) will give them the nuts and bolts of being a principal so they don’t have to learn on the job,” said Kreinik, who has been the District 28 superintendent since 1996. “We’re going to provide them with a knowledge base.”
Kreinik, also a former teacher, said he internally trained his teachers and principals in his district by offering them opportunities to share experiences. He said he created a system where principals could contact mentors who helped them deal with issues like planning for open school week and writing budget reports.
He said the academy will foster communication among principals and administrators and help them eliminate issues in a more efficient way. Kreinik said this will be facilitated through study groups, idea-sharing sessions and mentors, who include present and retired school principals.
“I’m energized. It’s an opportunity I have that will help support what I’ve worked for in my 34 years in the New York City school system,” he said. “Strong leaders will help to facilitate strong teachers, and that will engender good achievement levels — and that’s what our goal is.”
Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156