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Smagorinsky shines light on effective school leaders

Kathryn Kao

April 9, 2018

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Oftentimes, effective educators need an effective principal who can help provide guidance and support to the larger school community.

While conducting interviews for his ongoing research study on the career development of educators in Georgia, Peter Smagorinsky, Distinguished Research Professor of English Education in UGA's College of Education, discovered an outstanding principal who was praised by a participant for his leadership and involvement at a Madison County high school.

"It was refreshing to see how much a principal cared about students and cared about his staff," said the participant, who was a student-teacher at the time of the interview. "I grew to love that close-knit feeling. Not just with the faculty but with the kids."

Along with a doctoral student in the department of language and literacy education, Smagorinsky is studying the interview to better understand what influences educators' teaching careers over time.

"What I believe is most important about both [the principal's] own vision, and how his vision appeared to our research participant, is its emphasis on relationships and care," wrote Smagorinsky, who is a frequent contributor to the AJC Get Schooled blog. "Perhaps it's easier to pull off in small rural districts than in metro area mega-schools that often reduce everyone and everything to numbers."

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