National Aspiring Principals Fellowship Now Available in 37 States and DC

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First-of-its-kind National Aspiring Principals Fellowship Now Available in 37 States and DC
New Leaders partnership with Clark Atlanta, Morehouse aims to train, support more school leaders of color


May 18, 2022

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Educators looking to become school leaders in 37 states and Washington, D.C., can now enroll in the National Aspiring Principals Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind program created by national nonprofit New Leaders in partnership with distinguished historically Black institutions Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College to dramatically boost the number of principals of color leading K-12 schools across the country.

The Fellowship is an online principal certification and master’s degree program designed to train the next generation of equity-focused principals who better reflect the students they serve. Half of the nearly 50 million students in public schools today identify as people of color, while only 1 in 5 principals do. Only 11% of principals are Black, and just 9% are Hispanic, even as research shows that principals of color deliver better outcomes for students of color and are more effective at hiring and retaining teachers of color.

“Leadership matters, and in schools, research tells us that it matters a great deal — from hiring great teachers to creating safe, welcoming environments for all students. We also know that representation in school leadership matters because research has shown it leads to better outcomes for students of color,” said Jean Desravines, CEO of New Leaders. “Our goal with the Fellowship is to create a pipeline of diverse, equity-focused school leaders who have high expectations, hold themselves and teachers accountable, and see the brilliance and potential of children, especially historically underserved students.”

“Clark Atlanta University has educated teachers of color for generations, so it is fitting that we are a partner in this historic Fellowship that is now available to aspiring principals in the majority of states across the country,” said Dr. J. Fidel Turner, Ph. D., Dean of the Clark Atlanta School of Education. “When we talk about fundamentally changing what is happening in education in our country, this is what we mean: transforming the system so that every school is led by an equity-focused principal with the highest expectations for every child.”

Through state approvals of New Leaders and Clark Atlanta’s programs, Fellows can seek direct certification or reciprocity to serve as principals in states including: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

State licensure and certification are at all times subject to the requirements of the credentialing state.

School districts and charter school management organizations interested in sponsoring a cohort of educators to join the National Aspiring Principals Fellowship can do so at

Educators enrolling in the Fellowship will join a nationwide network of 8,000 skilled leaders who have completed New Leaders training to advance their leadership skills and help ensure that every student that walks through the doors of their schools can thrive.

For more on this groundbreaking program, visit


About New Leaders:

New Leaders is redefining how schools are led. New Leaders builds the capacity of equity-minded school leaders who are committed to the success of every child. Our leaders remove barriers to success for underestimated and underserved students, supporting students in fully realizing their futures as the next generation of great thinkers, innovators, and leaders for our society.

In 20 years, we have trained more than 8,000 equity-focused leaders—sixty percent of whom identify as leaders of color. Our leaders impact more than 750,000 students in our K-12 school system annually and serve as powerful and positive forces for change in their communities.

About Clark Atlanta University:

Established in 1988 by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869). Clark Atlanta University continues a 150-year legacy rooted in African American tradition and focused on the future. Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement. CAU cultivates lifted lives that transform the world. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson; American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing "The Black National Anthem"; Ralph David Abernathy Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit

About Morehouse College  

Morehouse College is the largest men’s college in the United States and the only college with a mission to educate Black men. A private, liberal arts institution founded in 1867, Morehouse is the nation's top producer of Black men who go on to receive doctorates, the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs, and was named to the list of U.S. institutions that produced the most Fulbright Scholars in 2019-2020. Morehouse has the top-rated core curriculum of any HBCU nationwide, according to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, and Academic Influence named Morehouse one of the two most influential HBCUs of the 21st century. Morehouse is one of the top five HBCUs nationally, according to U.S. News and World Report, which also ranked the College among the top 20 liberal arts colleges nationally in terms of social mobility and the top 50 nationally in terms of innovation. Morehouse is the #1 producer of Black male graduates in Georgia in biology, business, engineering, English, foreign languages, history, mathematics, performing arts, philosophy, physical sciences, religion, and visual arts, according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education. As the epicenter for thought leadership on civil rights, Morehouse is committed to helping the nation address the inequities caused by institutional racism, which has created social and economic disparities for people of African descent. Prominent Morehouse alumni include: Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton "Spike" Lee, Academy Award-winning American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta; Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; Louis W. Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; Bakari Sellers, attorney and CNN political analyst; Randall Woodfin, elected as the youngest mayor of Birmingham in 120 years; and U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, Georgia’s first Black U.S. senator from Georgia. For more information, visit: