NJDOE News

Contact: Richard Vespucci
For Release: May 18, 2001

New Jersey Receives Grant to Strengthen School Principals and Superintendents

Commissioner of Education Vito A. Gagliardi, Sr. today announced that New Jersey has been selected as one of 15 states to receive a $50,000 grant to strengthen education leadership. New Jersey was one of 37 states to apply for a design grant under the State Action for Education Leadership Project (SAELP).

The grant program is administered through the State Leadership Center of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which has convened a national consortium of key policymakers for the project. It is supported by the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds.

"The timing of this award fits perfectly with the current comprehensive review of our licensing regulations and our efforts to implement professional development standards and regulations for school principals and superintendents," Commissioner Gagliardi said. "This grant will enable New Jersey to move forward in a coherent and comprehensive way to create and align state policies with the best in standards-based education reform."

Dr. Gagliardi noted that the grant will be used to establish a state-level consortium with representation from key state education organizations to guide the development of an implementation plan. The plan, which the Department of Education expects to submit to the national consortium in October 2001, will be prepared to establish new state legislative and / or administrative policies for six strategies to improve the practice of principals and superintendents.

Upon approval of the implementation plan, New Jersey will be eligible to receive $250,000 to carry out the implementation.

The six strategies are:

  • Setting a state priority for action to strengthen school leadership
  • Expanding the pool of candidates
  • Education and professional learning
  • Licensure, certification and program accreditation
  • Conditions of professional practice
  • Authority for practice and governance structures

All 50 states were invited to apply for the grants. An independent panel of experts convened by the SAELP National Consortium, reviewed the 37 submitted proposals and selected the 15 awardees.

The SAELP National consortium is a partnership of the major national associations – the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Education Commission of the States, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the National Governors Association. The grants are funded as part of the LEADERS Count project of the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds. The funds are supporting the state policy program with a $8.9 million grant.

LEADERS Count is a national initiative by the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds to place quality leadership at the core of school reform. The initiative’s objectives are to increase the quality and quantity of school leaders; strengthen the abilities of principals and to improve learning; and create conditions that allow principals and superintendents to perform as effective leaders.