How can I "apply" for the NC Principal Fellows Program?

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.

See the latest NCPFP Newsletter - The Leader's Edge

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Four NCPFPs Receive Additional Funds for Odd-Year Graduates

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!

Class 27 Celebration

May 19, 2022

Click below to view the celebration recording.

Celebration Program and Presentation


The Hunt Institute

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.



Guilford High School English Teacher and NCPFP Commissioner Wins Top Honors for 2022

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.”

NC Principal Fellows Commission Meetings Scheduled for 2022-23

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.



Producing Exemplary School Leaders for Over 27 Years

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.

To read more about about the TP3 and Principal Fellows Program consolidation, click here.  You can also find more information on the Principal Preparation Program by visiting BEST NC.


NC schools with higher poverty and minority student populations lose principals at an alarming rate. We're closing the gap!