Program helps first-year principals

Dr. Karin DiMaggio knew that although it was her first year as principal of Glenwood Elementary School, she wasn’t alone.

“I knew that I had a lifeline—just someone that I could call anytime who was in my same shoes,” she added referring to her mentor, veteran principal Krista Barton-Arnold of Parkway Elementary School.

The two were reflecting back on the past year while attending the June 30 end-of-the-year celebration luncheon for the division’s Leaders Mentoring Leaders program, an annual mentoring program that pairs new principals or assistant principals with their veteran counterparts.


“Whether it was a parent call, a staffing situation or ‘borrowing’ ideas to help students, I felt a sense of collaboration,” DiMaggio said.

Superintendent Aaron Spence agreed.

In his opening remarks he shared that everyone needs mentors, including him.

He shared that to this day, he keeps in touch with two individuals who have been very important in his life as mentors and has been able to get their opinions on situations.

“All of us have those moments,” he said.  “And when you have those moments, feel free to reach out and ask them ‘how do I get through that.’  That’s the beauty of this program.  It formalizes those opportunities for people who are new to their positions, but it doesn’t stop here.”

The departments of School Leadership; Planning, Innovation and Accountability; and Human Resources coordinate the program, and they are already busy planning next year’s program.

“For me, it keeps me fresh with new ideas—particularly since I’m passionate about being a principal,” shared Barton-Arnold. “It’s a way of giving back as a principal.”

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One thought on “Program helps first-year principals

  1. I wish to commend all of our administrator mentors and mentees for their collaborative efforts focused on building and supporting effective leaders. One vision of the administrator development program, led by the department of School Leadership and the Office of Professional Growth and Innovation, is to create a pipeline of highly qualified school administrators to ensure the continued success of VBCPS. This work is supported by The Wallace Foundation , AASA, NASSP and other educational experts who understand the critical importance of principal leadership.

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