Preparing Students for Leadership

College of Education faculty secure $1.2 million grant from US Education Department.


By Kim Tucker

Special to USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2011) University of South Florida College of Education Professors Leonard Burrello, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (DELPS), Jeannie Kleinhammer-Tramill, Special Education (SPED), Anthony Rolle, DELPS department chair and Brenda Walker, SPED, received a grant of over $1.2 million from the U.S. Department of Education for a five-year project titled Leadership Preparation in Policy and Community Reform.


It will prepare eight full-time and part-time students to become local or state chief officers for special services or policy analysts in state departments of education over the next five years within an integrated course of study with field-based internships at the local, state and federal levels.


“This grant represents a step toward increasing the policy visibility of the USF College of Education and our department with significant local, regional, state and national organizations as well as to prepare students for policy positions, for large urban school leadership positions and state and national offices,” said Burrello.


The idea behind the project is to combine the expertise of faculty in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with those in the Department of Special Education to examine critical policy frameworks, policy development and implementation processes at the local, state and federal levels that effect the education of all students and particularly those with disabilities.


It likewise combines multiple and layered internships starting at the school districts of Hillsborough and Pasco counties in years one and two, a regional internship at the Florida Central Coalition of Board and Superintendents each year, and state level internships at the Florida Department of Education and the Florida School Boards Association in Tallahassee in the summer for six weeks, and finally, a national internship during the fourth and fifth years of the grant in Washington, D.C. at either the Office of Special Education, a national professional association, National State Directors, or the Council for Exceptional Children.


These internships will provide a 360-degree view of policy development as well as an in-depth critique of policy implementation and evaluation. All state and federal internships are paid by the grant.


Collaborative learning partners will provide meaningful learning tasks that have a policy and equity focus as well as opportunities to come to know district and agencies roles, functions, and practices in their unique contexts. Agencies will collaborate with the College to supervise and evaluate student learning each semester as students’ program of studies and internships emerge into a rich and ongoing development of competency and disposition toward educating all students to a high level.


Kim Tucker can be reached at 813-974-7440.