James Gray: November RLRP Coach of the Month

James gray for lhsaa
What is your professional experience (teacher, school level administrator, district administrator)A: 5 years as a physical education teacher at Jeanerette Middle School; 1 year as Assistant Principal at Anderson Middle School; 3 years as Principal of Anderson Middle School; 8 years as principal of Westgate High School; 2nd year as Director of School Leadership for Vermilion Parish School Board

Q: Why did you decide to work for AIE as an RLRP Coach? 
A: AIE’s visions and philosophy mirrors my own. The similarities allow us to provide authentic experiences for the residents. We provide theoretical frameworks along with practical application.

Q: How long have you been a coach and how many residents have you served? 
A: I have been a coach for three years and have worked with 7 residents.

Q: In your opinion, what sets RLRP apart from other principal certification programs? 
A: RLRP provides a rigorous curriculum that allows more flexibility than other programs. In addition, the curriculum’s rigor applies both theoretical and practical experiences which produce a stronger candidate at the end of the program.

Q: What has been you most rewarding experience since becoming an RLRP coach? 
A: The most rewarding experience comes when I can observe a resident’s growth in how they process new information, successfully apply the new information into changing contexts, and the ability to make adjustments to encourage continuous improvement. This leads me to believe that they will be able to replicate this in their future leadership positions.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a coach? 
A: One of the biggest challenges I have had was coaching “long distance.” I have had residents from the New Orleans area and I live in New Iberia. The distance does not allow for me to see the residents in their work environment as often as I would like.
Why would you recommend the RLRP principal certification program to aspiring school leaders? As mentioned before, AIE offers authentic experiences that prepare candidates beyond what a textbook can teach you.

Q: What piece of advice do you have for anyone considering the program?   
A: AIE is designed to develop leaders who are prepared for the constant changes associated with current reform efforts. There is no doubt that you will be fully prepared to take on challenges in our evolving educational system.


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