Announcing KCSS third year of the KCSS Principal Mentor Program

Kentucky Center for School Safety > News > School Safety News > Announcing KCSS third year of the KCSS Principal Mentor Program

From the desk of Jon Akers, Executive Director of Kentucky Center for School Safety


As many of you know over the past decade, Kentucky has experienced a high principal turnover. In fact, many have moved on to other positions within these last five years.  With the demands that greatly affect you and your district staff on a daily basis, KCSS would like to offer this service which is intended to supplement and support your efforts when you appoint a new principal.

To that end, it is my pleasure to offer, for the third year, this free service from the KCSS to assist new principals as they begin this new phase in their administrative career.  It’s no secret there is a definite need for new principals to have a successful veteran/master principal mentor to whom they can turn during this formative period to provide guidance and assistance on a regular basis.

We had a very successful 2022-23 school year mentoring 48 new principals.  At the end of this school year, we asked each new principal what they thought of the program and how we could improve it.  They were most supportive of it and highly recommended it to new principals…in fact, several current principals requested a second year with their mentor.

Our principal mentors received training from KCSS staff and the Office of the State School Security Marshal in the following areas:

  • mentoring practices
  • monthly flipchart To Do List of responsibilities that principals must complete (compliance with all KRS laws that affect schools)
  • effective school and leadership characteristics
  • reviewing Professional Standards for Educational Leaders
  • reviewing standards for creating a safe and healthy school environment
  • current practices and trends in school safety which included the “School Safety and Resiliency Act”
  • understanding the “School Security Risk Assessment” (the compliance tool that the State School Security Marshal’s compliance officers use)
  • developing school-based threat assessment teams
  • reviewing how to use the KCSS website
  • sharing checklist for school planning of an Emergency Operations Plan
  • performing strategic school building safety walkthroughs

Our mentors have extensive experience serving as successful school administrators and will work solely for KCSS. The model that we have developed is NON-Evaluative.  Our intent is to provide assistance and guidance as the new principal develops his/her individual leadership skills.

To participate in this service, we would need to have a new principal who meets a few basic/necessary requirements such as:

  • Be a willing participant who welcomes a mentor/mentee relationship
  • Be willing to meet both in person, or online, or via phone calls.  NONE of these activities would be scheduled during school time, unless requested by the principal mentee
  • Be willing to share their cellphone number with the mentor to enhance communication in time of need
  • Be willing to discuss school safety laws and current practices with their mentor
  • Be willing to learn from a mentor since this is a collegial endeavor
  • Be willing to improve his/her effectiveness as a leader

We’re making it simple.  There will be no cost to the district and no long meetings. There will be an in-person “meet and greet” get acquainted session, followed by planned periodic phone calls/ZOOM, and site visits upon invitation by the new principal.  If a specific issue arises where the new principal wants to bounce something off their mentor, they will have immediate access to their mentor’s cellphone.

As you know, KCSS has many resources at its disposal that directly pertain to running a safe and effective school program at all levels.  All such resources will be readily available to the new principal along with KCSS staff to provide immediate (in-person) assistance.

In addition, we will nurture and facilitate group sessions for the participants to share information and issues among their new colleagues.  New principal mentees will be offered periodic training, provided by KCSS, on current topics as they develop throughout the school year.  These will be offered in 30-minute ZOOM sessions after the school day. The sessions will be optional and interactive with KCSS staff and guest presenters.

I could go on as to why I think this program would be beneficial to you and your school district.  If after reading this email you have a principal who could benefit from this program, please fill out the short request form and send it back to me ( as soon as you can since spaces are limited.  We’ll move quickly coordinating one of our mentors with your principal.  July 1st is right around the corner and many new principals are starting their new jobs.  Let us help them, you, and your district.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Best regards,