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Twelve Certified in New Principals Program

Twelve regional teachers were recently certified as principals to complete a new program offered by UW-River Falls and the University of St. Thomas located in St. Paul, Minn.

Two years ago the new program was started as a joint effort and became the first program in Wisconsin to develop a certification partnership with a private university, and also the first program to cross state lines between Wisconsin and Minnesota universities. The program enables teachers to remain working while also taking classes towards their principal certification. It was created to meet the needs of the shortage of principals in the region and to provide a program where students did not have to travel long distances to gain proficiency.

UW-RF Professor Florence Monsour, who coordinates the principal certification program, said that the program filled a real gap in teacher training. "There are two other programs in the Wisconsin that offer a master's degree for principals and are located in Milwaukee and Superior," she said. "In this area, there is a shortage of principals and a real need for the program."

While the program is targeted mainly towards certification, students can also earn their master's degree through the University of St. Thomas.

The principal certification program has been approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Teachers who are interested in obtaining their certification must commit to a two-year program. Most of the courses are offered over the summer, with a few scheduled during the regular academic year semesters. Currently, the third cohort of future graduates started its classes this summer. The group of students will go through the program together until graduation.

"The students become a very tight-knit group and are a support system for each other," she said. "They are friends and give each other support and morale." The popularity of this program has been growing. Monsour said that this year she received over 70 requests and inquiries about the program.

The graduates of the first cohort by community are:
Altoona School District: Gary Pszeniczy.
Chippewa Falls School District: Rebecca Riewestahl.
Durand School District: Randy Johnson.
Eau Claire School District: Elizabeth Anderson, Mary Kay Kopf and Robert Modjeski.
Glenwood City School District: Lori Tulip.
Hudson School District: DeAnn Halverson.
Menomonie School District: Chris Stratton.
Owen-Withee School District: Charles Milliren.
Prescott School District: Jeff Stenroos.
Thorp School District: John Neira.


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