McCracken principal singled out by leadership class

H.E. McCracken Middle School's principal is one of two in the state honored this year for success in a school leadership training program.

Phillip Shaw is a 2010 graduate of the School Leadership Institute, a two-year course that trains South Carolina principals to develop and refine their management, communication and instructional practices.

Two classes completed the institute recently, and each selected one participant who showed superior leadership skills and dedication, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Education.

Shaw won the Tenenbaum Award for his class of about 20 principals. The award is named for former State Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum, who created the institute nine years ago.

"I was very flattered," Shaw said. "There were a lot of strong people in there with a lot of talent."

Shaw has 15 years of experience in public education, including work as an assistant principal and teacher. He said that experience gave him a thorough understanding of the instructional responsibilities of a principal, but the leadership class helped him better understand his management responsibilities.

Shaw said he manages about 100 employees at the McCracken Middle School in Bluffton and wanted to learn better communication and team-building strategies.

"It's important to understand the business part of education as well as the instructional piece," he said.

The School Leadership Executive Institute is run by the state's Office of School Leadership in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership and the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business and College of Education.

Several principals in Beaufort County have completed the institute over the past few years and more are planning to attend, according to the school district.