Pearl-Cohn principal shares her story with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan with Pearl-Cohn Principal Sonia Stewart

Just a few months after Hunters Lane principal Sue Kessler was asked to advise federal lawmakers on education, another Metro high school principal was asked to give her input into national policymaking.

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School principal Sonia Stewart was invited to meet with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last month. She was part of a group of innovative and successful principals brought to the White House and the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to both learn and advise federal officials. She shared her experiences as a school leader and also gave input on a variety of programs, policies and initiatives.

She ended the day in a roundtable discussion with Sec. Duncan and Assistant Secretary Deb Delisle. The visit was part of the Principal Ambassador Fellow (PAF) program through the USDOE. The program was created in order to better allow local leaders to both contribute their knowledge and experience to the national dialogue about public education and, in turn, learn more about education policy at the federal level. According to USDOE officials, PAF is "one means of recognizing the critical impact that principals have on instruction and student achievement; school climate and improvement; and community and family engagement."

“Strong school leadership is the key to ensuring that the best teachers are recruited and supported and that high-quality instruction is offered to kids in every classroom, every day,” said Sec. Duncan. “We are excited that principals from all over the nation will spend time with us to share their perspectives on leading schools of excellence and equity. Great school leadership matters now more than ever.”