Standard 7: Mentor Qualifications

Experienced administrators selected as mentors are qualified for this professional role, prepared for their responsibilities, assigned appropriately, evaluated for their effectiveness, and recognized for their contributions.

Rationale

Mentors play a key role in the induction experience of the beginning administrator.  They need to understand the needs of beginning administrators and be prepared to help and assist in the development of administrative expertise.  They will be most effective if they are paired with candidates who share similar job responsibilities and are committed to assume responsibility
with the employer, the university, and the candidate, for the mentoring component of the clear credential induction plan.
 
Factors to Consider

The following factors serve as a guide for initial program design and ongoing program evaluation:

• Appropriate criteria for mentor selection and assignment are established by each school district or employing agency.  These criteria give attention to the person’s professional expertise, coaching skills, and knowledge of the profession.

• Training/orientation is provided by the university, district, county office, or professional organizations to prepare mentors for their roles and responsibilities.

• Mentors maintain regular and ongoing contact with candidates.

• Mentoring relationships are evaluated on a regular basis, and changed or supplemented as necessary.

• Mentors value and embrace their professional responsibility to nurture and support new administrators.

• Mentors are recognized in appropriate ways by employers and by the university.

• The program meets other factors related to this standard of quality brought to the attention of the team by the program sponsor.

General Qualifications for Mentors
Except in special cases, all mentors should have recent and relevant experience as a school administrator at the level of principal or higher.  For candidates working in special situations (i.e. special education, nursing, counseling, and so on), mentors may be selected with specific leadership knowledge and experience in such a position.  All mentors should have exceptional human relations skills and a record of successful leadership in her/his school and/or district. Mentors should also have knowledge of current school reform initiatives, NCLB requirements, and executive coaching and mentoring.

University Mentors
University mentors are generally chosen on the basis of experience, knowledge, and coaching ability.  The Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute is one venue that is being considered for expansion of the mentoring experience.  Information on the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute (CVELI) may be found at http://csufresno.edu/cveli/

District mentors
It is in the best interests of the candidate, the school district, and the university to obtain the services of the best district mentors available in the area.  While the program will take into account the number of years of administrative, teaching, and other related experience, major emphasis will be placed on the specific coaching skills and abilities of the district mentor as well as the ability to provide high quality support and assistance.

The Educational Leadership and Administration Program works with our Superintendents’ Advisory Committee to develop a list of qualified district mentors.  Our Superintendents’ Advisory Committee consists of over 25 superintendents of local school districts that have an active relationship with the university and our program in particular.  These districts represent over 250,000 students in the Central Valley and all larger and many smaller school districts in the area are represented.  The superintendents provide a rather extensive list of qualified mentors. It is our goal that whenever possible, the district mentor will be from the same school district as the candidate.  The district mentor may be a current educational leader or retired from such a position.

The district mentor is required to be in contact with the candidate at least once a week during the candidate’s duration in the Clear Administrative Services Credential Program.  Such contact may be face-to-face, telephone, or email, however, the district mentor and candidate are required meet face-to-face as a minimum, once a month.

Mentor Training
Initial training for the university and district mentors has been planned in collaboration with the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute (CVELI).  CVELI, in collaboration with Pivot Learning Partners (http://www.pivotlearningpartners.org/) has trained dozens of current and retired school leaders to take on roles as mentors to local school principals and superintendents. In this training, mentors are exposed to and practice a wide variety of coaching skills, as well as developing and implementing educational plans.  At present, CVELI is providing executive coaching to 17 local school districts, and a number of new administrators from our own Educational Leadership and Administration Program are receiving coaching through their district’s relationship with CVELI.  This training has been deemed to be highly satisfactory to meet the needs of new administrators in our area.

Aside from CVELI, the Educational Leadership and Administration Program works in collaboration with CALSA (California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators). The mentoring coordinator for the statewide program, Dr. Ken Magdaleno, a current program faculty member, has assisted in developing guidelines and training for the university and district mentors.  Dr. Magdaleno, who is a former ACSA middle school Principal of the Year (2004), was honored by having his dissertation from UCLA named as the dissertation of the year.  Dr. Magdaleno’s dissertation research was utilized to develop the CALSA
mentoring program.  Dr. Magdaleno worked with CVELI and with Springboard Schools (the former name of Pivot Learning Partners) in developing training for coaches.  In summary, ample training has been and will be provided to university and district mentors through our collaboration with CVELI, Pivot Learning Partners, and CALSA.

Mentor Evaluation
The district mentor and the university mentor will be evaluated each semester and the results will be provided to the mentor in aggregate form.  In the case of a district mentor having only one candidate, the university mentor will facilitate discussion regarding the work of the district mentor, to ensure that feedback from the evaluation takes place for all district mentors.
 
The Educational Leadership and Administration Program has regularly used student evaluations that are completed each semester to provide feedback to mentors, to determine training needs of mentors, and/or to reassign or replace mentors.  However, if a district mentor receives an unsatisfactory evaluation, this is not automatic grounds form dismissal or reassignment, as each case is analyzed individually.

The program coordinator is responsible for the ongoing evaluation and review of all mentors. The coordinator will meet with any mentor who is experiencing difficulty in fulfilling the requirements and guidelines in a satisfactory manner.

University Mentors
Faculty members of the Educational Leadership and Administration Program play key roles in providing mentoring to candidates, facilitating collaboration with schools and districts, providing coursework, providing information regarding professional development opportunities and so on. Below is a list of faculty members who participate in the Clear Administrative Services Credential program, their role, and selected experience.

Full-time

Facultymember

 

 

Role

 

 

SelectedExperience

Sharon Brown-Welty

Instructor/Mentor

Director ofDoctoral Program  andConsultant to Hanford ElementarySchool District

VirginiaBoris*

Instructor/Mentor

FormerAssociateSuperintendent, ACSA CurriculumandInstruction Administrator ofthe Year, Executivecoachfor superintendents and Principals, Co-DirectorCVELI

WaltBuster

Director CVELI*

Former Superintendent of Clovis Unified and Fresno Unified, Executive coach of superintendents and principals

Linda Hauser

Instructor/Mentor

FormerAssociateSuperintendent, Coordinator

ofSuperintendents’Leadership Network, Executive coach for superintendents and principals

Ken Magdaleno

Mentor

ACSA MS Principal oftheYear (2004), executive coach of several principals, State Coordinator ofmentoringprogram of California Association  ofLatino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA)

Donald Wise

Instructor/Mentor

Executive coach of several school principals,

formerproject leadforcoachingin Sanger USD, formerAssociateDirector CVELI


*CVELI (The Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute) is an institute housed in the Department of Educational Research and Administration and provides services to over 25 school districts in the Central Valley focused on closing the achievement gap and increasing the achievement of all students, including Best Practices conferences and workshops, executive coaching to school principals and superintendents, effective techniques for English Learner teachers and students, and ongoing training in mentoring and coaching skills.  CVELI plays a key role in upgrading the skills of our faculty, maintaining a close collaborative relationship with local school districts, and in providing daily or weekly contact with schools and classrooms.  As such, the faculty and candidates of the Clear Administrative Services Credential program are actively engaged in the activities and services of CVELI.

As in all program activities, ongoing evaluation, as well as an annual review, serves to ensure that the program not only meets the standards as required by the CCTC, but by the local school districts that depend on our program to prepare their educational leaders.

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