2011 Master Principal Designees

Dondi Frisinger, from left, Cynthia Voss, Tom Kimbrell, Cythina Covington, Glenda Bryan and Cathy Koch are pictured at the May 16 meeting of the Arkansas State Board of Education.


Dondi Frisinger, principal of Walker Elementary in Springdale School District; Cynthia Voss, principal of Shaw Elementary School in Springdale School District; Cynthia Covington, principal of Allen Elementary in Siloam Springs School District; Glenda Bryan, principal of Avondale Elementary School in Marion School District; and Cathy Koch, principal of Upper Elementary 5th Grade School in Russellville School District, have achieved the status of Master School Principal and were recognized Monday at the Arkansas State Board of Education meeting at the Arkansas Department of Education.


These individuals completed three years of rigorous professional development plus additional performance evaluations to graduate from the Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Master Principal Program with the designation this spring. The Arkansas Leadership Academy is based in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas.


Tom Kimbrell, Arkansas Commissioner of Education, Diana Peer, Master Principal Leader, and Debbie Davis, director of the Arkansas Leadership Academy, presented certificates and awards of distinction to the principals.


“I congratulate these individuals for pursuing excellence in their careers as educational leaders,” Kimbrell said. “This training above and beyond the licensing requirements for school administrators will indeed benefit these fine principals and, even more importantly, the teachers and students in the schools where they serve.”


Glenda Bryan graduated from Arkansas State University with both a bachelor's degree in elementary education and early childhood education and a master's degree in elementary administration.


Cynthia Covington graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with both a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education/gifted and talented.


Dondi Frisinger graduated from Missouri Southern College with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She later received a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.


Cathy Koch graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a bachelor's degree and later completed a master's degree at the University of Central Arkansas.


Cynthia Voss graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She later received a master's degree in elementary education from the University of Arkansas.


The Arkansas Leadership Academy Master Principal Institute was authorized by Act 44 of the Second Extraordinary Session of the 2003 Arkansas General Assembly. It is designed to develop leadership skills of principals through three phases of professional development.


“More than 300 principals from 70 counties have participated in Phase I of the program,” Davis said. “Of those, 173 principals have continued through the process to Phase II and III, with 17 earning Master School Principal designation. We currently have eight designated Master School Principals and Master Principal Program graduates serving in high-need schools across the state and assisting students and adults to reach higher levels of achievement in teaching and learning.”


Master Principals will receive a $9,000 per year bonus for five years upon earning the designation. They are eligible for an additional $25,000 per year for five years if they are selected to serve at a low-performing school.


Phase I of the Master Principal Institute is open to all school principals who have at least one year of experience and the support and permission of their superintendents to participate. Principals from across the state meet during the year in four multi-day sessions for intense study while applying the learning from those sessions in their schools throughout the year.


Admission to the second phase of the program requires submission of a portfolio documenting the application of the lessons learned from the first phase and the results of that work to improve student and adult learning in the school.


To be admitted to the third phase, principals must complete a rigorous application process that includes evidence of their impact on education at the district, state, and regional levels. These portfolios are evaluated by stakeholders in education from Arkansas as well as from out of state.


After successful completion of all three phases, principals may choose to participate in a rigorous assessment by a team of trained examiners with at least one member on each team from another state. The rigorous assessment process examines evidence from three primary sources:

  • Student Performance: An analysis of student academic achievement data
  • Principal Performance: An analysis of a portfolio created by the principal
  • School Performance: A site visit to document evidence of principal and school effectiveness

Successful completion of these steps qualifies an individual for Master School Principal status.


The Arkansas Leadership Academy is a collaborative partnership that includes 50 partners including the departments of general, higher, and career education; nine professional organizations: Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, Arkansas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Arkansas Education Association, Arkansas North Central Association, Arkansas Rural Education Association, Arkansas School Boards Association, Arkansas Public Relations Association, Arkansas National State Teachers of the Year, and Arkansas Parent Teacher Association; Wal-Mart; Tyson Foods; 16 universities; 15 educational cooperatives; and the Arkansas Educational Television Network.


Arkansas Leadership Academy
346 N. West Avenue, Room 300
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
Phone: 479-575-3030
Fax: 479-575-8663
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A statewide collaborative partnership based at the University of Arkansas.