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May 8, 2024

The Fellowship: More than Principal Certification

Being a principal is hard. How will the Fellowship prepare me for success?

Did you know that a lack of adequate preparation is one of the top reasons principals leave their roles? This does not have to be the case. Research confirms that a well-prepared school principal is less stressed and more likely to stay in the role, even in high-need schools. 

You may have discovered that not all principal certification programs are created equal. Some focus solely on requirements and principal licensure, while others offer broad strokes on educational leadership. 

As an online principal certification and master’s degree program, the Fellowship takes your preparation a step further by equipping you with the leadership skills, practices, and knowledge you need to lead successfully and be a lasting change-maker in your school community. And that involves so much more than completing licensure requirements. 

How does the Fellowship prepare you for the principal role?

Simple. We immerse you in educational leadership before you even step into the principal role. And we surround you with experts and like-minded peers to support you every step of the way. As a fellow, you practice your leadership skills in real time, in your current role. From creating a shared vision to coaching a teacher team, you translate theory into practice every day as you grow into school leadership. 

Our program is backed by more than two decades of experience and extensive evidence of what works in developing successful education leaders. More than completing the requirements for principal certification (or a master’s degree), the Fellowship offers you a transformational leadership experience that will shape the school leader you want to become. We offer: 

Cohort-based Learning & Community of Support

Engaging with a community of diverse, like-minded leaders from across the country allows you to collaborate, problem solve, and continuously improve as an instructional leader alongside your peers. In an atmosphere of trust and support, you build meaningful relationships and host rich conversations that are key to ongoing learning. 

“The Fellowship has done such a great job cultivating a community of educators of color who are called to this work. I never would have thought that I would build such great friendships with other people of color who are doing the things I’m doing: transforming education.”
Cinque Weekes-Bynoe, Fellowship Alum

Principal Residency & Job-Embedded Learning

Doing the real work of schools is what prepares you for the principal role. Our year-long job-embedded residency offers opportunities to exercise your leadership, apply your learning, and complete a capstone research project in your current school. This is how you transform your teaching experience into school leadership. 

Individualized Coaching & Real-Time Feedback

Every month, our expert coaches all current and former principals, and provides immediate and actionable feedback to support you in your residency. Effective coaching enables you to slow down, reflect, elevate different perspectives, and problem solve the gap between where you are and where you want to go as a leader. 

Distinguished Faculty & Equity-focused Expertise 

The Fellowship faculty are a diverse and deeply experienced team of professionals and education leaders, including award-winning principals, superintendents, and equity champions who have an average of 22 years of educational leadership experience. All of our Fellowship faculty have advanced degrees in a variety of education disciplines.

Placement Support & Access to Ongoing PD

Every leader needs a network of support to sustain you on your educational leadership journey. As a fellow, you benefit from ongoing access to placement support, career mentorship, coaching, and leadership seminars. You also join our national alumni community with over 8,000 impactful leaders.

“We’re family … my cohort will always be my thought partners, my journey partners, and my accountability partners. The coaches that were offered to me, I can call and count on them at any time of the day.” 
Dashe Rowland, New Leaders alum and first-year school principal featured in District Administration

Remember, you are not alone

Every K-12 education leader who inspires you got their start as an aspiring leader. For some, moving into the principal role felt natural. For others, the transition was overwhelming and isolating. That does not need to be you.

The Fellowship includes all the key aspects of principal preparation programs that researchers identify as best for adult learners—and so much more. Be ready to lead from day one in your school district or beyond. Now is your time. Let's get started. Here's how you can start your application today.

Fellow, Michelle Means, cut out in orange square frame | Fellowship Images
Michelle Means
Fellowship Alum, '23
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