Introducing the National Aspiring Principals Fellowship

First-of-its-kind principal preparation and masters degree program designed in partnership with Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University to train the next generation of equity-focused principals.
All members of Cohort 12.
3/10/22
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New Leaders is joining forces with two historically Black institutions, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, to launch the National Aspiring Principals Fellowship. The first-of-its-kind partnership, the Fellowship aims to dramatically increase the number of school principals of color leading schools across the country. 

Research has found higher student achievement and better school outcomes specifically for teachers and children of color when a principal of color is at the helm. We know school leaders of color demand higher expectations. They provide more rigorous learning opportunities. They develop school cultures that support teachers of color and promote better outcomes for Black and Brown students. Representation in school leadership matters.

Laptop, journal and pen, coffee mug, and jar of flowers on table.

The Fellowship is an online principal certification and master’s degree program. It is designed to prepare the next generation of equity-focused school leaders who better reflect the students they serve. 

Today, half of the students in K-12 public schools identify as people of color, while only one in five school principals does. Only 11% of principals are Black, and just 9% are Hispanic. This difference is called the representation gap in school leadership. New Leaders, along with Morehouse and Clark Atlanta, intend to close that gap and accelerate learning for all students, particularly underestimated and underserved students of color and students from communities with lower incomes.

“My high school principal refused to let me drop out,” noted Jean Desravines, CEO of New Leaders. “I was 17 when my father passed away, and my mother returned to Haiti. He believed in me when I did not believe in myself. The Fellowship will create more leaders like my principal who saw what a first-generation Haitian American student could become one day.”

Combining the best of online learning with a rigorous residency program, the Fellowship allows aspiring principals to apply their new professional learning immediately in their own schools and in their current roles. Fellows then hone their leadership skills via rigorous coursework, expert coaching from successful school leaders, and a virtual learning platform, developed by Noodle, that offers a highly interactive user experience. This is principal preparation at its finest.

“The Fellowship will create the much-needed pipeline of diverse school leaders who are ready to make bold, transformational changes in service of our schools, our students and their families, and our communities …so that every student has a chance at success.”
Jean Desravines, CEO, New Leaders

“It is difficult to envision an investment with a higher ceiling on its potential return than a successful effort to improve principal leadership,” a recent report from the Wallace Foundation concludes. We could not agree more. An effective principal is a change agent.

Our leaders drive quantifiable outcomes in learning, teaching, and equity and get results where it matters most: in schools, for students. According to the RAND Corporation, New Leaders has the strongest evidence base of any education leadership program in the country.

Multiple independent evaluations have proven that in schools led by a New Leaders principal:

  • Students perform better in reading and math 
  • Students gain additional months of learning 
  • Students have better attendance rates
  • Principals themselves stay in their roles longer 

The leaders we develop serve as an example of what is possible. They support students in fully realizing their futures as the next generation of great thinkers, innovators, and advocates in service of a stronger, more equitable, and more just society. 

“The Fellowship will create the much-needed pipeline of diverse school leaders who are ready to make bold, transformational changes in service of our schools, our students and their families, and our communities,” adds Desravines. “This is a national crisis that demands nothing less than our full attention and strongest commitment so that every student has a chance at success.” 

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