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AISL faculty information
The purpose behind the American Indian School Leadership program at NAU
In the current political context of high-stakes accountability, there exists a critical need for a preparation program that trains Native American principals to lead improved instruction and school change, not just manage budgets and buildings. Many states, including Arizona, link teacher and administrative evaluations to student performance outcomes (Arizona Senate Bill 1040). The mandate of this new state law (33-50% of administrative performance evaluation will be linked to student outcomes) underscores the need to train aspiring principals to be highly competent instructional leaders.
While state education leaders have been stressing common core standards, there is less emphasis on a state-wide collaboration to address the need for training principals on effective core competencies such as instructional leadership (Norris, et. al., 2012). The AISL project builds on a research-based model implemented in 2011 at Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) Department of Education Leadership, created specifically to improve performance by rural school principals (Helios Rural Principal Pipeline Project, 2011).
The organization of AISL at Northern Arizona University
The project is organized around a consortium agreement and has the committed involvement of NAU’s administration, the College of Education, Navajo Technical College (NTC), and four tribal partners (Dine, Hopi, White Mountain and San Carlos). The AISL project serves the public schools and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools serving the four reservations. Since 1998 these 4 Arizona federally-recognized tribes, NTC and NAU have maintained a consortium to support the American Indian School Leadership (AISL) project. The overarching goal of the AISL project is in line with the purpose of the Indian Professional Development Grants Program: to prepare Native Americans and Alaskan Natives (AIAN – American Indians and Alaskan Natives) to become administrators whose knowledge, skills, and cultural responsiveness will bring about long-term educational improvements in the early childhood, elementary, middle and high school experiences of AIAN youth. The AISL project design will enhance the recruitment, preparation, and retention of a critical mass of AIAN students into the administrative profession.