Northeastern Illinois University’s 2-year-old State of Illinois principal preparation program has received special mention and accolades from the Illinois Education Research Council (IERC) for the “partnership board” component of the program.
The IERC published the results of a two-year, comprehensive investigation of principal preparation in Illinois in a report titled “Navigating the Shift to Intensive Principal Preparation in Illinois: An In-Depth Look at Stakeholder Perspectives,” which describes how principal preparation reforms in Illinois are being implemented across the state.
“When the Northeastern Illinois University Department of Literacy, Leadership, and Development went through the process of redesigning its school leadership program, Dr. Howard Bultinck, the department chair, had a different vision for enacting the partnership component,” the report states. Instead of partnering with a district or two, as outlined by law, program professors John Beckwith, Howard Bultinck, Lynn Bush, Gabriel Cortez, Ana Gil-Garcia and Terry Stirling and Student Services Coordinator, Jennfer Grzelak, decided to create a model, meaningful, truly collaborative and long-lasting partnership board.
Required by Illinois law, the partnership board was formed to co-author, co-implement and co-evaluate the program.
“The enhanced partnership board that we created went way beyond state law and has now been cited as exemplary,” Bultinck said. “School districts, regional offices of education and the private sector were included. We even did a book study on effective partnerships. Our new program approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) took years to write and was given a perfect score on an ISBE rubric. I am so appreciative of my colleagues’ work that went way above and beyond minimal requirements.”
Students who complete the 12-course master’s degree program in school leadership at Northeastern matriculate to positions of leadership in their schools and communities and receive the new State of Illinois Principal Endorsement.