After mentoring new and potential principals for years, Rudolph Saunders of Accokeek will be leaving his role as principal at Upper Marlboro’s Frederick Douglass High School to further assist aspiring administrators.
Saunders, who has been principal at Douglass since 2006, will serve as the first leadership development coach for high schools for the Prince George’s County Public Schools office of talent development. In this role Saunders will work with new principals as they adjust to their schools as well as assistant principals who are looking to move up.
“It’s exciting to think I will have more time to dedicate to working with somebody and coaching them throughout process,” Saunders said.
Before coming to Douglass, Saunders was principal at Stephen Decatur Middle School in Clinton.
In his eight years as Douglass’ principal, the school has met goals for reading proficiency, boosted graduation rates to beat the state average and completed authorization for the International Baccalaureate diploma program, which will start next year, said Steffanie Jackson, the president of the high school’s PTSA.
Jackson said Saunders turned the school around and deserved this promotion.
“I believe that the system will benefit from him working with other principals and assistant principals,” Jackson said. “It’s an amazing opportunity for both him and the county.”
Sherida Britt, the vice president of the high school’s PTSA, said Saunders’ greatest contribution to the school was his commitment to the Frederick Douglass community.
“I’ve found Mr. Saunders to be very open to building relationships with parents and the community,” Britt said. “I think he’s well loved among the staff and among his colleagues in Prince George’s County, which is one of the reasons why he was promoted.”
Saunders said he will continue to serve as principal until his replacement is selected. Families are encouraged to complete an online survey by Thursday morning to help PGCPS identify potential candidates. A community meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. today at the high school, 8000 Croom Road, so parents and students can discuss the qualities they are looking for in a new principal.
Jackson said the ideal principal does not need to come from PGCPS, but does need to have significant experience leading a high school.
“I’m really most concerned about experience because with the implementation of Common Core and the IB diploma program coming all in the same year, it’s really important to me that this is not our principal’s first high school,” Jackson said.
Britt said the next principal needs to be an instructional leader, not just a disciplinarian.
“We would really like to find someone who is willing to continue Principal Saunders’ efforts to ensure that we have a strong community and parental support,” Britt said.