What We Do

Principals face many challenges in leading for the 21st century. Transformations in school systems and communities in the U.S. and around the world have greatly expanded the leadership role of principals. MEMSPA and NAESP advocate for the support principals need to be successful 21st century leaders—to achieve the highest results for children, families, and communities.


Principal Mentoring and Coaching

NAESP National Mentor Training Coming to Michigan March 7 & 8 - Get complete information here!

Principals are faced with an increasing number of challenges as they strive to improve teaching and learning in their schools. One-on-One mentoring and coaching is an effective tool to support the growth of the principal and increase effectiveness and longevity in the profession. Principals find the long-term relationship with a mentor supportive and helpful in the isolated role. Mentoring includes both onsite and virtual visits each month and is tailored to the needs of the principal and his/her readiness level, setting goals and using standards for what principals should know and be able to do as a guide. At the district level, additional workshops around the Standards for What Principals Know and are Able to Do can create a common language and expectations for building level administrative teams and for coherence in systems for all administrative team members.

What You Can Expect
Our Mentor will...
  • Demonstrate a commitment to high expectations for self and the mentoring relationship
  • Utilize research-based coaching and mentoring best practices including effective listening skills and providing quality feedback
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the Common Core State and College and Career Readiness Standards at all levels
  • Provide up-to-date information through a constant review of research and resources
  • Demonstrate a confidential and trusting environment
  • Encourage open and reflective conversations in collaboration with the protégé
  • Build the capacity of the protégé and encourage the use of technology to support the growth of the school
Job Embedded Mentoring & Coaching
A comprehensive mentoring program should include a commitment for the Mentor and protégé to work over a period of time, ideally at least 12 months, with no less than 6 face-to-face contacts to achieve maximum impact for the protégé.
With a NAESP Nationally Certified Principal Mentor, participants may engage in mentoring & coaching:
  • on-site at his/her school location
  • virtually from a school/home location
  • combination of onsite and virtual (maximum impact)
Meet Our Mentors

BARB ELSON is an NAESP Nationally Certified Principal Mentor, supporting aspiring and practicing school leaders.  Under her leadership, her school received the distinction of being named a Leader in Me Lighthouse School, among few in the State of Michigan honored for meeting the rigorous academic and school cultural implementation criteria. She is a trained 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Families facilitator.

 MOLLY FUNK is a Nationally Certified Principal Mentor who brings vast experiences from multiple settings as a principal to her mentoring. She is skilled  at coaching for systems change and transformational leadership practices. Her experiences and expertise in School Improvement and literacy, including  Reading Recovery® support leaders in a comprehensive, systems approach to building level leadership.

 CHUCK SHULTZ is veteran educator, spending 32 years as a building principal at both the elementary and secondary levels where he helped two  schools earn the “National Blue Ribbon Schools Award”. A Past President of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association and an  adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department at Grand Valley State University, Chuck is passionate about “giving back” to the profession,  mentoring educational leaders as a Nationally Certified Principal Mentor and supporting principals in the legislative arena.

 SUSANTOWNSEND is an educator with more than 30 years experience. Following her teaching career, she served as an elementary principal for 11  years and now works as the Jackson County ISD Director of Instruction and Learning Services. Susan is certified as an NEASP National K-12 Principal  Mentor. Her experience and expertise include MTSS/RtI, teacher evaluation,, culture & climate, and professional learning.

 DEREK WHEATON has been an educator for 32 years. He was MEMSPA’s 2011 Outstanding Practicing Principal and a NAESP National Distinguished  Principal. He provides professional learning for schools and district leaders, coaching and mentoring for new and beginning principals. Derek is a  Nationally Certified Principal Mentor and is co-facilitator of MEMSPA’s specialty endorsement program, Leadership Matters.