On July 1, 2021, The NC Principal Fellows and Transforming Principal Preparation Programs fully merged. Learn more about the new grant-funded program and its impact on principal preparation across the state.
The process of becoming a NC Principal Fellow is collaborative and involves your school principal, district leadership (Human Resources and Superintendent) and grant-funded University Programs.
No application from our state office exists. Each academic year, grant-funded University Programs will work with their partnering school districts to determine the number of aspiring leaders they have "on the bench" and ready to enroll in a cohort. As partners, they manage a rigorous selection process used to ensure the highest caliber participants are accepted.
Congratulations to the following Principal Fellows Programs for the acceptance of proposals to help balance the number of Principal Fellow graduates in even and odd year:
CCRESA/NC Central University, East Carolina University, NC State University, and UNC Charlotte
Collectively, these programs will receive approximately $5 million between 2023-27. With the additional funds, programs anticipate graduating close to 100 Principal Fellows ready to serve North Carolina's high need schools!
Over the past year, the Hunt-Lee Commission has engaged in comprehensive conversations around key education opportunities with leaders from across the field of education, as well as representatives from the business and philanthropic communities. Over the course of four meetings, the group took a close look at long-standing challenges in education and identified innovative solutions.
Among the many challenges and recommendations articulated in the report, the Commission acknowledged the need to grow the school leader pipeline. Understanding the critical role principals play with respect to culture, instruction, and teacher retention, it makes sense to invest in the development of high-quality school leaders.
The report highlights the NC Principal Fellows Program (traditional model) as a program showing success. Their recommendation to expand the program is spot on! With the recent merger of NCPFP and TP3 (Transforming Principal Preparation Program), we have doubled the size of our graduating cohorts. The NC General Assembly recently included additional funds in legislation for the purpose of further expansion, specifically adding "odd year" graduates to help balance the supply and demand needs of our state.
To read the full report, click the button below.
Leah Carper, an English teacher at Northern Guilford High School, was named the 2022 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year during an awards luncheon on Friday, April 1, 2022 at the Umstead Hotel in Cary. Carper was selected from a field of nine finalists representing the state’s eight education districts and charter schools.
She said she takes her cues from her students and what they need and tailors her approach to what works best for them.
“My classroom isn’t just my classroom; it’s theirs too,” she explains. “No matter what, I’m always willing to try something new, creative, weird, or random if I think it will effectively grab and keep the attention and imagination of my students.”
“I want nothing more than for my students to feel safe when they are in my class,” she said. “I want them to feel like if they have a question or a comment, they are safe to share it. I want them to feel safe to express if they’re struggling emotionally and need an extension on an assignment. I want them to feel like our classroom is a safe place to laugh and express themselves, because when they feel safe, they can learn.”
Carper said that if she can help her students understand what it means to be a good person, she can say she was a successful teacher.
“I teach English. We cover reading and writing skills in my class,” she said. “I have taught my students grammar, vocabulary, writing, research, rhetoric, and poetry. My students score well on their standardized tests, too.
“But when my students reach out to me years after leaving my classroom, they don’t talk about how great it is that they finally learned what a transition sentence does. They talk about how the class made them feel and about how it made them think about the world around them.”
The North Carolina Principal Fellows Commission meets regularly to discuss various aspects of the program. The fifteen-member governing body represents various educational and business areas, and are appointed to serve four year terms.
The North Carolina Principal Fellows Program, launched in 1993, is a scholarship program that provides funding to exemplary educators who aspire to begin a career in school administration. For twenty six years, scholarship funds (in the amount of ~$3.2 million) have been awarded. The Transforming Principal Preparation Program is a competitive state grant ($4 million) which requires NC university programs to apply through a Request for Proposal process in order to receive funding. Again, this is a grant awarded to university programs and not a scholarship awarded directly to students.
The NCPFP prepared me for a successful career as a school administrator. The program made me aware of current school conditions and helped me recognize ways that I could support students and teachers with various problems in numerous settings. The NCPFP also helped me build a foundation for a doctoral program which I recently completed.
I’ve been through the NC Principal Fellows Program as a student and also have enjoyed the pleasure of being a Principal mentor for another NC Principal Fellow. Without question, the strongest, most-prepared administrative candidates seem to be produced from the North Carolina Principal Fellows Program.
Being a NC Principal Fellow did not “get” me a job; however, the experiences I had because of the program, and the constant reflection about my practice, prepared me well for my current role as a principal. UNCG and its focus upon the cultural foundations of education helped me to become a principal that questions, so that children continue to be the focus of all that I and my staff do to create a positive, worthwhile education for our children.
The indescribably rigorous and extremely relevant material and assignments I was exposed to as a NC Principal Fellow uniquely prepared and filled me with an immense level of confidence, pride and organizational skills. I find myself incredibly energized and capable of being student-oriented, supportive of my co-workers, compassionate, and understanding of parents, as well as very patient.
I am proud to be an alumni of the NC Principal Fellows professional learning community. NCPFP provided a wealth of opportunities for me to grow and learn as a school executive. Without the NC Principal Fellows Program, I would not have gained from the experience of working with a variety of school principals at different levels. The professional development and internships from the program have broadened my thinking and shaped me into a much better administrator.
If it had not been for the North Carolina Principal Fellows Program, I would not have been able to participate in the MSA program. The opportunity to develop as a professional on a full time basis was too good to pass up. The internship year provided me with learning opportunities that part-time students never experience. As a result, I entered the administrative workforce more knowledgeable and more confident.