Program director Susan Garton, Ph.D., at RAPPS’s 2012 Alaska School Leadership Institute.
Just as teachers are a scarce resource in rural Alaska, so are principals and administratorswith turnover rates as high as 40 percent. Since 2009, however, the College of Educations Rural Alaska Principal Preparation and Support (RAPPS) Project has been focused on turning that number around. With Susan Garton, Ph.D., at the helm, the 5-year grant-funded program is projected to exceed its original goal of training and placing 55 graduates as new principals in 17 high-need districts throughout Alaska. It is instead on track to 60 graduates, with the last cohort scheduled to complete the program spring 2013.
The success of RAPPSoriginally funded with $3.6M from the U.S. Department of Educationcan be attributed to Gartons dedication as well as the collaboration between partnering organizations such as the Alaska Administrative Coaching Program, the Alaska Department of Education and the Alaska Staff Development Network.
In the past four years of the RAPPS program, Dr. Garton has provided a valuable but unrecognized service to UAA and the state of Alaska, says College of Education Associate Dean Satasha Green. She has promoted partnerships that have already benefited the community and the learning of Alaska Native K-12 students.
Our success is due to an unprecedented collaborative approach, says Garton, who believes that a rural cohort of graduate students is sustainable in the future without grant funding. She will be working to continue her service to rural districts.