The Excellence in Educational Leadership Award is an annual recognition by the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) for practicing school administrators, who have concurrently made contributions to the improvement of administrator preparation. This year, a member of the University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP) faculty, Tyrone Richardson, was recognized with this award.
Richardson has served for the past six years as Principal of Betances STEM Magnet School in Hartford, CT. He holds a B.A. in Theater Arts/Communication/Elementary Education from Western Connecticut State University, an M.S. in Education from Cambridge College, and his Principal Certification 092 from Central Connecticut State University. As an alumnus of Hartford Public Schools, Richardson has a special connection with the community, and he is deeply dedicated to the success of Hartford students. At UConn, Richardson is involved with UCAPP and the UPPI Wallace redesign effort.
Richardson has worked with UCAPP for the past three years, designing and presenting class seminars on subjects ranging from the budgeting process and building teams as a leader to crisis management. This past year, he also served as a professor in practice for UCAPP PLUS courses. During class sessions, he brought practical and real-life experiences to the theories and research presented by faculty. .
Within UCAPP, Richardson serves as what is known as a mentor principal. In this role, he mentors aspiring administrators in the UCAPP program by providing them access to the school, working as a leadership role model, and assigning them an active role on the team. Richardson also supports UCAPP staff with program implementation and recently joined members at a national conference where they presented best practices, and were exposed to many rich ideas.
“He has contributed in substantive ways to the University of Connecticut’s administrator preparation program by leading workshops on topics in Educational Leadership, collaborating with University faculty to teach issues in relevant and rigorous ways, and mentoring aspiring principals from across the state of Connecticut,” remarked Associate Professor of Educational Leadership,
Dr. Sarah Woulfin.
Richardson did not always envision becoming a principal, but considered it after one of his previous principals identified his strengths, and encouraged him to join a leadership cohort. As a teacher, he always enjoyed helping students, and he then realized that by supporting teachers and other administrators he can impact the lives of even more students.
In addition to his enthusiasm in the classroom, Richardson is also an active voice on Twitter. He tweets pictures of students in the classroom as well as on field trips. Additionally, he uses it as a platform to recognize teachers, staff and students for enacting the school’s value and mission. This untraditional platform sets Richardson apart and offers new channels of communication with faculty and students.
For aspiring educational leaders, Richardson offers this piece of advice,
“Keep thinking about our future and the evolution of education as you prepare students to interact with one another. We can’t continue to teach students in the same fashion that we were taught in. Lead, model, be innovative, and put yourself out there to make mistakes. Above all be patient and remember you are working with kids. School is for them.”