Public School Leadership Program at U of A to Receive $1.9M

FAYETTEVILLE, AR (News release) – The Walton Family Foundation announced Monday, June 23, a $1.9 million grant to the University of Arkansas Foundation and the College of Education and Health Professions to help supply highly skilled teachers and administrators to some of Arkansas’ poorest public schools. The objective of the grant, which will fund the Principal Fellows program, is to enhance student outcomes and ultimately lead to stronger communities and economic development growth.

The Principal Fellows program is a new, innovative strategy created by the University of Arkansas to provide a robust pipeline of highly skilled principals and assistant principals who have been specifically trained in how to build high-performing schools in high-need areas. The Fellows will each take part in a rich and diverse embedded internship with master principals and trained mentors to give them real-life understanding of the challenges faced by administrators, teachers, students and their parents.

“The Walton Family Foundation’s continued support of the university’s public school leadership and teacher development programs is helping make sure all Arkansas children have access to a high quality education,” said John Pijanowski, professor of educational leadership in the College of Education and Health Professions. “The new Principal Fellows program will recruit and train some of Arkansas’ best administrators, giving them the tools they need to be successful in some of the more challenging areas of the state.”

Over the next four years, 60 administrators will attend one-year, high-impact leadership training through the Principal Fellows program. The program will focus on building math and literacy proficiencies in students while helping administrators identify and develop new school leaders.

“This Principal Fellows program is unique in that it is designed to do something new while leveraging existing organizations and focusing on building strong schools,” said Kathy Smith, senior program officer at the Walton Family Foundation. “Combining resources and sharing information is a great way to build dynamic programs that effect the most change. We believe this model has great promise for Arkansas’ most at-risk school districts.”

About the Walton Family Foundation

During 2013, the Walton Family Foundation invested more than $325 million in domestic and international projects that addressed significant social and environmental issues and sought to create exciting new opportunities. The foundation continues to implement and expand grant making to fund a positive difference in many diverse communities – and in the lives of the people who call them home. For more information, visit or

About the College of Education and Health Professions

The College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas offers advanced academic degrees as well as professional development opportunities and learning communities in service to the education system of Arkansas and beyond. The college works closely with educational leaders across the state to continuously improve systems and educational outcomes for students.

In the field of health, the college also prepares nurses, speech-language pathologists, health educators and administrators, recreation professionals, rehabilitation counselors and human performance researchers. For more information, visit

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