How PrincipalsConnect Began

As a longtime resident of Kansas City with a deep connection to the educational system, Carol Hallquist observed the challenges of running a public school in urban Kansas City. She learned that principals have a wide variety of demands placed on them and would appreciate outside, confidential support. At the same time, Carol retired from a three-decade career at Hallmark and found that her need for professional community and her desire to share her business expertise were not being met. Carol also realized that other retired professionals felt the same way.

Hallquist spent 2016 developing her plan at Harvard as part of the Advanced Leadership Initiative, but it wasn’t until she held focus groups with over 120 Kansas City teachers, principals, students, parents, school board members and community leaders that she developed a focus—principals. From students, to education college deans, every group told her great principals were the driving force behind student achievement. 

A strong school principal can overcome many obstacles and create a rich, successful learning and teaching environment. Great principal leadership is the #1 reason talented teachers stay at well run schools.

PrincipalsConnect launched in September 2017 with six PrincipalsConnect Advisers and three principals in the Kansas City Public School District.

What PrincipalsConnect Does

PrincipalsConnect recruits and supports retired professionals who volunteer to serve urban school principals. We attract professionals who are well-connected in the KC community and have a passion for urban education.

Volunteers, or advisers, provide help with human resources, project management and many other areas.  Volunteers have flexibility in the hours they work and principals have the ability to select a PrinicipalsConnect adviser when and where they need them. 

At PrincipalsConnect, we believe that retired and semi-retired professionals who are involved with urban schools can advocate for resources and positive change. PrincipalsConnect advisers have the experience, empathy and passion to inspire collective action, providing positive change in our schools.

How It Works

There is no single program that gives urban school principals access to free professional assistance when and where they need it. PrincipalsConnect has stepped in to fill that gap. Led by principal priorities, our team is able to focus on what each individual school needs to be successful. For example, PrincipalsConnect advisers can help create and lead team building sessions for the principal and his/her staff or help find resources for school projects. Principals get the assistance they want and retirees get the satisfaction of using their skills to help school leaders.