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School of Education chosen for N.C. Principal Fellows Program

Funding expected to support as many as 60 MSA students

As many as 60 students will get state funding to go through Carolina’s Master of School Administration program after the School of Education was named among six University of North Carolina system schools to join the revamped N.C. Principal Fellows Program.

Over six years, the School will receive $4.29 million, funding that is expected to support the participation of five cohorts of 12 students each in the MSA program.

“We’re delighted to receive this funding, knowing that it will support the development of educators who are prepared to excel in leadership roles in schools,” said Martinette Horner, program coordinator of the MSA program.

Carolina’s participation in the Principal Fellows Program will feature partnerships with county school districts in Bertie, New Hanover, Sampson, Wake, Wayne counties and with a group of charter schools, Horner said. Two students from each county and from charter schools are expected to join the program each year, she said.

Carolina has participated in the Principal Fellows Program in the past, but the program reorganized in recent years with a merger between the Principal Fellows Program and the Transforming Principal Preparation Program, often referred to as “TP3.” Carolina’s last Principal Fellows cohort under the prior program structure graduated this spring. The MSA program will welcome is first cohort in the new Principal Fellows in summer of 2022.

The MSA program will launch the “UNC LEADS” initiative in which students will go through the MSA’s two-year, cohort-based preparation program. The initiative will be built on three pillars, with emphases on equity and social justice, educational leadership, and continuous improvement, Horner said.

UNC LEADS will build on relationships the School has developed to help districts and schools in under-served areas, Horner said. To pursue the initiative, the School will work with N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, the EdPrepLab at the Learning Policy Institute, and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Education Policy Initiative.

Background about the Principal Fellows Program

The other universities chosen for the N.C. Principal Fellows Program’s 2022-2028 grant cycle were Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, N.C. State University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Western Carolina University. They Join N.C. Central University/Central Carolina Regional Education Service Alliance and UNC-Charlotte, which received grant funds for the 2020-2026 grant cycle.

In 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly established the competitive grant program to elevate educators in North Carolina public schools by transforming the preparation of principals across the state. The goal of the program is to provide funds for the preparation and support of highly effective school principals in North Carolina. The North Carolina Principal Fellows Program is currently producing approximately 40% of the state’s educational leadership demand.

“These annual reoccurring grants will be vital for our universities to help train exceptional candidates to one day become school principals,” Andrew Kelly, UNC System senior vice president of strategy and policy, said in a news release. “The UNC System is proud to partner with NCPFP and would like to thank them for their continued support of education leadership training throughout the System.”