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A New Cohort, Growing “Together”: An Update On The Mississippi Principal Impact Fellowship

The Mississippi Principals Impact Fellowship brings school leaders together from across the state to participate in a cohort-based support network for administrators. 

A New Cohort, Growing “Together”: An Update On The Mississippi Principal Impact Fellowship

By The TFA Editorial Team

February 23, 2018

The second cohort of the Mississippi Principals Impact Fellowship is well underway, and, just like its first iteration, includes a diverse group of school leaders and changemakers who are interested in bettering themselves as well as the lives of their students. So far, the fellows have participated networking and development opportunities around the state, such as Capital Day, during which they engaged some of the foremost leaders in education and government on the future of their field.

On Wednesday, February 20, 2018, the fellows gathered in Memphis, TN at the Lichterman Nature Center to hear from organizational guru, Maia Heyck-Merlin, Teach For America alumna and advocate, who led the school leaders and TFA staffers in a day-long training based on her bestselling book, The Together Leader.

Heyck-Merlin prides herself on helping leaders organize themselves so they can more effectively executive on their priorities. She teachers leaders how to maximize time management (for, instance by getting rid of “calendar babies” and “priority crushers”) in the interest of being able to do the important work of cultivating team leadership, observing teachers and making organization-wide change within schools and districts.

For school leaders, Heyck-Merlin’s professional development offers them the opportunity to get perspective beyond the day-to-day work while harnessing tools to help them achieve the “big picture, all while being led by someone who has been in their shoes. Their development also relies on fellow attendees, who are encouraged to provide immediate feedback and thought partnership during the day. On this occasion, Miskia Davis, Superintendent of Sunflower Consolidated School District and Hollandale School District Superintendent, Mario Willis, who near each other and exchanged ideas on getting their entire school districts operating more efficiently using Heyck-Merlin’s concepts.

Impact Fellow Dylan Jones of Sunflower Consolidated School District said ,“Mrs. Davis and I raved the entire day about how awesome this training was. We want to reach out and bring her to our district because we think her strategies are beneficial.”


The training costs approximately $500 per person, but because of their participation in the Principal Impact Fellowship, these leaders were able to attend at no cost. The cost of this workshop and others are supplemented by grants from The Kern Family Foundation and The Barksdale Reading Institute.

The next training offered by the Mississippi Principals Impact Fellowship will be held on March 3 at Delta State University. Cindy White, Communications Director for The Parents Campaign, will lead the fellows in learning to manage social media and communications from schools in order to reframe the narrative about our schools in our communities. Contact Krystal Cormack if you’d like to join.