Virginia Tech - Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement - School Leaders Institute
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The School Leaders Institute is designed specifically for school administrators who seek a professional grow experience which will challenge their thinking and increase their effectiveness as they fulfill roles requiring increased responsibility. Each program offered by the School Leaders Institute provides multiple, hands-on opportunities structured to hone and expand existing skills and to sharpen decision-making ability. Institute "Fellows" engage in workshops that stress participation and provide opportunities for each participant to discuss, share, question, reflect and implement what they are learning as they engage in their work day-to-day. Institute participants are expected to read and prepare for discussion. The Institute co-directors monitor and evaluate the quality of the interaction and how participants explain application of concepts. Participants will prepare and leave behind a reflective journal synopsis based on their coaching/mentoring experience, cohort meeting discussions and institute workshop activities. They will detail what they learned and how they are/will apply those learnings in their role as school principal or administrator.

The School Leaders Institute is a comprehensive, in-residence, high-quality professional development experience designed to prepare the next generation of educational leaders. The institute offers two different programs: the Recently Appointed Administrators Program and the Aspiring Superintendents Program. Participants in both programs engage in multiple, hands-on activities structured to hone and expand existing skills and to sharpen decision-making ability. Program participants are encouraged and expected to discuss, share, question, reflect and apply what they are learning in their day-to-day work. Session topics and related small group activities challenge each participant to synthesize information and create connections to bridge gaps between theory and practice.

Dr. E. Wayne Harris Dr. E. Wayne Harris is an experienced educator with fifty-two years of successful tenure as a teacher, school-based administrator, school superintendent, executive coach, visiting professor, and educational consultant. Dr. Harris retired as Superintendent of the Roanoke City Schools, Roanoke Virginia in 2004. Prior to Roanoke, he completed 25 years of teaching and leading in the Fairfax County Schools in Fairfax, Virginia. He created E. Wayne Harris LLC in 2004 and has served successfully as an executive search associate, planning facilitator, executive coach, strategic planner and technical advisor.

Following his retirement as Superintendent of Roanoke City Schools, Dr. Harris was appointed a COTA Fellow and Visiting Professor at Virginia Tech. He designed and implemented the School Leaders Institute (SLI), which for the past fifteen years has offered the Recently Appointed Administrators Program and the Aspiring Superintendents Program. The School Leaders Institute’s focus is leadership development, training, and capacity building. A total of seven hundred forty educational leaders from eighty-four different school districts have attended the School Leaders Institute.

Dr. Harris, one of 19 superintendents trained to participate in the VASS Executive Coaching service, has been actively engaged as an executive coach for superintendents who work in rural, suburban, and urban districts in Virginia (Falls Church, Hopewell, Lynchburg, Petersburg, Radford, and Roanoke Cities, and Amelia, Nottoway, Prince Edward, Prince William, Lunenburg, Montgomery, Mecklenburg, Tazewell, and Greensville Counties).

Dr. Harris has been involved as a facilitator of initiatives, throughout North America, including keynote presentations, workshops, strategic planning, technical and administrative support, superintendent searches, and school board orientation.

Dr. Harris is an Associate with Cambridge Strategic Services and has assisted thirteen different superintendents with development of their system’s strategic plan. He is an Associate with BWP & Associates and has facilitated thirty-six searches to identify candidates who were hired in Virginia school systems.

Dr. Harris is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Urban Superintendents Program (USP) and was the first graduate of the program to be appointed superintendent. He received his Doctor of Education degree and M Ed. from Harvard, a master’s degree from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree from Shepherd College.

Dr. E. Wayne Harris Dr. Sharon E. Richardson
Dr. Sharon E. Richardson is an educator who spent thirty-three years in Virginia’s public schools. During the course of those thirty-three years, she served in many leadership capacities. Although holding a secondary degree in Spanish and History, she is proud to say, she began her career as an elementary instructional aide while completing her elementary degree. Dr. Richardson taught fourth and fifth graders for twelve years at Fairview Elementary in Roanoke City before being appointed to the principalship of Preston Park Primary. She served at Preston Park Primary for five years while learning the importance of early childhood education.

In 1995 she was appointed principal of the largest elementary school, Westside Elementary Magnet School for Performing and Visual Arts. It was her honor to serve in this position for six years. From 2001-2005 Dr. Richardson served as principal of Addison Middle School while participating in former Governor Mark Warner’s Turnaround Specialist Program . In 2005 she moved to Central Office as Executive Director for Student Services for two years before retiring from Roanoke City Schools.

In 2010, Dr. Richardson was recruited to work at the high school level in Roanoke City to mentor and assist hall principals and department heads in running an effective organization, thus bringing her educational experiences at various levels full circle. She has also conducted seminars for Mary Baldwin in classroom management.

Dr. Richardson joined the School Leaders Institute in the Fall of 2012 as an associate and became a COTA Fellow in June of 2015.

B.A. - Spanish, minor in history, Longwood University
M.S. - Educational Administration, Virginia Tech
Ed.D - Education Policy and Studies, Virginia Tech

Dr. N. Wayne Tripp Dr. N. Wayne Tripp
is a Fellow in the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement (COTA) at Virginia Tech and an Affiliate Faculty Member of the Educational Leadership Program in the Virginia Tech School of Education. He is co-leader of the School Leaders Institute, which includes both the Recently Appointed Administrators Program and the Aspiring Superintendents Program, and is the School of Education’s liaison to the School Leaders Institute.

Dr. Tripp served as Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Area Leader in the Educational Leadership Program from 2006-2012. In addition to teaching doctoral and master’s degree courses in the Educational Leadership Program, Dr. Tripp chaired the research studies for 16 students who successfully completed their doctorates. He also supervised internships for dozens of students enrolled in the Virginia Tech Program for the Preparation of Supervisors and School Principals.

Prior to joining the staff at Tech, Dr. Tripp served seventeen and one-half years as Division Superintendent in Salem, Virginia. He also served three terms as Superintendent of the Roanoke Valley Regional Program for Low Incidence Special Education Populations. Dr. Tripp worked as Director of Instruction in Salem before being named superintendent. In that capacity, he had the unique opportunity to be a member of the team that founded the City of Salem School Division. He also served as Interim Principal of West Salem Elementary School, Principal of Covington High School, Principal of Lancaster High School, Assistant Principal of New Castle High School, Federal Programs Director for Craig County Public Schools, and as a Teacher of English and History. He also coached football, basketball, and baseball.

Dr. Tripp currently works in several other capacities as well. He is a coach in the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) Executive Coaching Service and serves as a reviewer for research manuscripts for Educational Administration Quarterly. He was a member of the Virginia Tech Principal Leadership Program, which provided coaching and support to principals of 30 challenged schools across Virginia. He is also a consultant in education for school boards in Virginia, conducting leadership training for administrators and school board development activities.

In March 2003, the fifteen member superintendents of Region VI named Dr. Tripp Superintendent of the Year for the region. In May of that same year, Dr. Tripp was selected by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents as the 2004 Virginia Superintendent of the Year.

B. A., Virginia Tech, History
M. S., Radford University, Educational Administration
Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study, Virginia Tech, Educational Administration
Ed.D., Virginia Tech. Educational Administration

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