Reform in the preparation of educational leaders: A partnership between a university and a school district

Raymond Luke Effinger, Fordham University


This case study explored an educational partnership between the Bronx High School District and Fordham University that was formed to establish the Visionary, Instructional, and Administrative Leadership (VIA) Program, an educational leadership preparation program. The purpose of the partnership was to increase the pool of candidates for school leadership vacancies in the Bronx High School District. In the Spring of 1996, the District selected teams of principal-approved teacher candidates from 5 high schools for the program. The District funded 25% of the students' tuition and the University provided a 25% tuition reduction. Students were responsible for the remaining 50% of the tuition costs. Twenty-two candidates were to apply theory that was learned in the graduate school classroom in the high schools where they worked. Students moved through the program as a cohort and were required to work cooperatively with team members from their schools on school improvement projects in order to develop a collaborative leadership style. The VIA members were interviewed during their last semester in the program in the Spring of 1997 and again in 2004. Members of the original faculty, the Chairperson of the department at the time, the collaborating Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of the Bronx High Schools and 4 out of 5 of the original principals were also interviewed in 2004. A review of communications and a document study from the creators of the VIA Program were also conducted. The members of VIA were highly successful. Of the 22 students who entered the program, 21 received a Professional Diploma and a New York State School Administration and Supervision certification. Eleven of the participants are currently school administrators. Four are school principals, 3 of whom are serving in Bronx High Schools. Four are assistant principals in the Bronx. Findings suggest that the design of the program provided the VIA members with the experience necessary to develop the visionary, instructional, and administrative skills required to become competent school leaders and assisted in the development of collaborative leadership skills. The program increased the pool of candidates who were female and/or from minority backgrounds for vacancies in school administrative positions in the Bronx High Schools. Many of the students were able to obtain school leadership positions. The partnership increased University access to the Bronx High Schools and this provided a laboratory for the application of the leadership skills learned in the graduate classes. Partnerships between school districts and universities for the purpose of preparing school leaders can increase the success of new school leaders and achieve educational goals.

Subject Area

School administration|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Effinger, Raymond Luke, "Reform in the preparation of educational leaders: A partnership between a university and a school district" (2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3166565.