ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – In a release from Ector County ISD, district leaders announced that the school district is the first in Texas to have a Registered Apprenticeship Program for K-12 Principals.

ECISD says the apprenticeship is a high-quality career pathway where principal candidates are in a full-time, paid position while they gain invaluable job experience.

The program provides mentoring, on-the-job training, principal licensure, and professional learning to ensure aspiring leaders have the skills and knowledge necessary to be effective, all of which is approved and validated by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for our school district, and it fits nicely with the Human Capital work we have already started,” said ECISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri. “Since the inception of our strategic plan in 2019, we have invested heavily in recruiting, retaining and rewarding teachers, and now we are doing the same for our principals.”

The district says the Apprenticeship Program gives ECISD access to funding, meaning there is no charge for those in the program.

“Research is clear, the teacher is the biggest influence on student learning, and the principal is the second biggest influence,” added Dr. Muri. “Great schools are led by great principals and this Registered Apprenticeship Program will play a key role in developing those great leaders for our schools.”

ECISD announced in September that the district was approved for a Registered Apprenticeship Program for Teachers. This is a partnership with both Odessa College and the University of Texas Permian Basin, combining the rigorous college classwork with hands-on experience with a highly qualified teacher, and financial support.