The Importance of Leadership and Management

Being a principal is a lot like being the CEO of a small company. Principals in Duval County manage on average about 200 staff members, and Title I elementary school principals touch the lives of hundreds of students every day. One of their most important jobs is developing an outstanding teaching team, providing coaching and guidance to teachers in the school, but they must balance this responsibility with the significant operational challenge of keeping a school running efficiently each day. No matter what happens in the volatile realm of education policy and finance, they are ultimately responsible for delivering results, both educational outcomes and student experience.

For Title I principals, the work is particularly challenging. Communities around Title I schools generally have fewer private resources to support the school through the parent teacher associations and school advisory committees. Principals generally also have to manage more distractions from the learning environment, such as behavioral issues stemming from student trauma and chronic absenteeism by students who are facing instability at home.

The Nina Waters Fellowship for Leadership & Management supports Title I elementary school principals to work on a leadership and management project of their choosing. The fellowship includes grant funding, coaching and other professional development opportunities to help principals increase their positive impact in schools.

They may never grace the pages of The Wall Street Journal or Fortune magazine, but they might possibly be the most important CEOs in our country. They are elementary school principals....It's a tough job and the stakes are high." 

--Charlie Hollar, turnaround expert and founder of Great Expectations

Meet the Inaugural Fellow


Jacqueline Jones is the principal at Brentwood Elementary School in northwest Jacksonville. She is working on developing a principal pipeline to ensure a smooth transition following her service as principal. To do so, she is developing strong skills among the assistant principals and instructional coaches at her school, while also improving knowledge management to document which practices have worked well at her school and which haven't.




of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.