Portraits of Frederico Rowe, Rhonda Ware and Curtiss Douglass in their offices

(l-r) Frederico Rowe, Rhonda Ware and Curtiss Douglass

Principles for Principals

by Claire Miller

When Frederico Rowe first became a teacher, he knew he wanted to become a principal.

“I marveled at how the principal was able to be the ‘hero’ for all who entered through the school’s doors,” said Rowe, principal at Continental Colony Elementary School in Atlanta. “Many of my colleagues also needed the encouragement to understand that we were not simply teaching students. We were lifesavers and life changers. The role of the principal allows you to manage that work and see the school function from different perspectives.”

Rowe is one of several College of Education & Human Development (CEHD) graduates who have taken leadership roles in Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and have joined the college’s new Principals Network.

Established by the college’s Alumni Network, the Principals Network encourages CEHD alumni serving as principals to make meaningful connections with fellow school leaders, attend professional development sessions offered through the college’s Principals Center and share best practices.

Rhonda Ware, an administrator and instructional leader for 21 years in a successful inner city school, hosted the first Alumni Principal Network Luncheon with APS principals at her school in 2014 and believes novice and veteran principals can learn from one another as a part of this network.

“Even if you’ve been a practitioner for a while, it’s good to hear great ideas from people who have done exceptional things in schools,” she said. “Our work is really important, and it affects so many people — the local community, parents, business partners and universities. We do a lot, and I think that the Principals Network can support us and help us put all those pieces together.”

Curtis Douglass, principal at North Atlanta High School, said the network has not only introduced him to others who face similar challenges but has also helped him recruit new teachers for his school.

“I have gained and shared resources with other principals, and I have received leads on good teaching candidates through various networking opportunities,” he said. “Being a principal can be an isolating job, and a network allows us to share information, brainstorm, celebrate, laugh, vent and cry with our peers.”

Text quotes from Frederico Rowe, Rhonda Ware and Curtiss Douglass

This story originally ran in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of IN, the College of Education & Human Development’s magazine.