ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A foundation based in New York is working to help schools in south Georgia.
On Monday, The Wallace Family Foundation presented Albany State University with a $7 million grant to help produce top quality principals.
The grant will be given to the university over the next four years.
A representative from the foundation said that Albany State was selected because of its unique proposal to include local school districts.
"This is amazing for us," said ASU College of Education Interim Dean Dr. Thomas Thompson.
Thompson said that he applied with an open mind.
"We never thought that we were in this position because we were competing against some major universities," explained Thompson.
After looking at 125 universities across the nation, the Wallace family invited 25 universities to present their potential plans for the money.
"They said it would depend upon the quality of the proposal and not the size of the institution," said Thompson.
And it did.
Representatives from the foundation visited 12 schools, and eventually seven were selected to receive $7 million grants.
"We really saw the impact that Albany State could have on this region," explained The Wallace Family Foundation Senior Consultant Andy Cole.
Cole said the university's plan was one-of-a-kind.
"What makes this approach by Albany State unique is the focus on the partnership and the agreement by the partners to actually be engaged in this work," explained Cole.
As of right now, those partners are the Dougherty, Calhoun County and Pelham City School systems.
Students in the program will work hand-in-hand with school administrators.
"They are learning to do the work of the principal by actually doing the work," said Thompson.
Representatives from the school systems said that the partnership with help improve the schools now and in the future.
"It is in our best interest that the products of this university are adequately trained to lead our schools," explained DCSS Associate Superintendent Dr. Ufot Inyang.
"Not only will it work to develop the principals we have, but what we want to do is identify the potential principals in our district and those throughout Southwest Georgia," said Pelham City School System Superintendent Floyd Fort.
Some of the other schools selected are much larger universities like the University of Connecticut, North Carolina State University and other big-name schools.