Harris County, Texas—January 31, 2005—The Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) and Walden University are working together to address the growing principal shortage by launching a new, distance-learning partnership that will prepare the next cadre of principal leadership in the state of Texas.

According to a study conducted by several national associations of principals and Educational Research Services, there is a nationwide shortage of principals. Research suggests that within the next five years, more than 40 percent of the nation’s 93,000 principals are expected to retire.

The HCDE/Walden partnership combines the Texas Principal Certification Program administered by HCDE and a two-year master’s degree program from Walden University, a 35-year leader in graduate distance education.

“HCDE is pleased to partner with Walden University’s high quality master’s degree program to offer a program that leads to principal certification in a unique online format that increases teacher access to principal certification programs,” said HCDE Assistant Superintendent Dr. Linda Pitre, also the director of the dual education opportunity.

“This program offers those students who cannot routinely attend class at a university site an opportunity to further their education, enhance learning for their students, and address the growing need for top quality administrators,” Pitre said.

Walden’s two-year, 36-semester-hour master’s program uses the Leadership for Learning curriculum that was developed with the American Association of School Administrators. Technical support is provided 24/7 while students are in the master’s program, and Walden provides a personal faculty internship advisor during the two-year program. Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

Approval for this unique program was given by the State Board for Educator Certification last month. Educators will earn the certification upon passing the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) Principal Test. Dr. Richard Griffin, a veteran educator for administrators, created the customized instruction for the Texas Principal Certification Program. Griffin is in charge of HCDE’s Office of School Governance, Executive Leadership and Fiscal Accountability.

HCDE Superintendent Dr. John Sawyer calls the partnership between HCDE and Walden exceedingly significant. “It’s very exciting for us to explore these new deliveries of educator training which are harmonious with today’s electronic world,” Sawyer said.

Upon completion of the Walden Master’s Program, students who have been accepted into HCDE’s program will continue their education with five weekend education sessions tailored for candidates, as well as preparation for the test.For more information about the HCDE Principal Certification Program, access www.hcde-texas.org call 1-713-696-0764 or 1-713-696-8204. For more information about Walden University, log on to www.WaldenU.edu or call 1-877-497-0151.

About Harris County Department of Education
The Harris County Department of Education is a 116-year-old, nonprofit, tax-assisted organization dedicated to the equalization of educational opportunity and advancement of public schools. The organization impacts the educational community through visionary leadership, shared resources and innovative programs.

About Walden University
Since 1970, Walden University has offered working professionals the opportunity to earn advanced degrees through distance learning. Today, this comprehensive, accredited online university offers master’s and doctoral degrees in education, psychology, management, and health and human services, as well as bachelor’s completion programs in business. For more information, visit www.WaldenU.edu.

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association www.hlcommission.org; 1-312-263-0456.

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