5 Exemplary Leadership Programs

As part of our Preparing Leaders for Deeper Learning series, we are profiling organizations that are doing just that: they are actively engaging in exemplary ways the preparation of education leaders. They are preparing Edleaders for the Deeper Learning environments where they will serve as principals, managers, superintendents, and more. We know the role of EdLeader is changing and we know that we should prepare edleaders for the 21st century schools and learning we need.

The Alliance to Reform Education Leadership (AREL) has built a network of principal training programs. The network currently includes 28 programs in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The programs meet AREL’s nine program standards for principal preparation, design, and evaluation:

  1. Program Purpose
  2. Competency Framework
  3. Recruitment
  4. Candidate Selection
  5. Coursework
  6. Clinical Leadership Experiences
  7. Post-Graduate Support
  8. Context
  9. Evaluation

Exemplary programs have a track record of success and are among the best principal training programs in the country. They are collecting data that can be used to improve principal training and share it with programs in the AREL network.

AREL exemplary programs include:

Gwinnett County Public Schools, Quality-Plus Leadership Academy and Aspiring Principal Program
Suwanee, GA

The goal of the Quality Plus Leadership Academy is to increase student achievement by identifying, recruiting, and preparing prospective school leaders; and selecting, developing, training, and supporting them to become highly effective instructional leaders in 21st century schools. The Aspiring Leader Program (ALP) and the Aspiring Principal Program (APP) are specific QPLA activities dedicated to this goal, designed for teachers aspiring to be assistant principals and assistant principals aspiring to be principals.

Mentoring is available to first and second year principals and assistant principals. New leaders participate in the program and current GCPS leaders are involved in monthly Leadership Development meetings and the summer Leadership Institute.

KIPP School Leadership Programs
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA

Since 2000, KIPP School Leadership Programs have been training leaders in the education field. They have expanded offerings for all types of educational leadership and also offer action learning projects (ALPs) for groups of leaders who are wrestling with similar challenges, retreats, and leadership coaching.

New Leaders
Headquartered in New York City, NY

New Leaders has been training leaders for high performing schools for 13 years.Their Urban Excellence Framework has “personal leadership” as its foundation. The framework includes: Belief-Based, Goal-Driven Leadership, Culturally Competent Leadership, Interpersonal Leadership, Adaptive Leadership, and Resilient Leadership. Principals must “strike a balance between being very firm about non-negotiables – and demonstrating genuine engagement with others, humility, and relationship-building.”

New York City Leadership Academy
Headquartered in New York City, New York

The vision of NYCLA is “to improve outcomes nationwide, particularly for the most vulnerable students, through high-quality school leadership.” The strategy of the organization includes empowering school districts, state departments of education and universities and non-profts in their local contexts to “build and implement high-quality school leadership development initiatives to improve student outcomes.” NYCLA works directly with clients in 26 states where “aspiring and current school leaders receive training and support from highly experienced and trained facilitators and coaches.Additionally, NYCLA offers a variety of customized consulting options for school districts, universities, state education departments and nonprofits to build or strengthen their own programs.

University of Illinois Chicago, Ed.D. Program in Urban Education Leadership
Chicago, IL

Located at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education, The Center supports the continuous improvement of the EdD program model by “assessing what works best to create leaders who transform schools.” The Center shares what they are learning with educators, advocates and policymakers — at local, state and federal levels — to shape how the country prepares leaders for children in urban public schools. The Center’s student and alumni principals and leaders are closing the achievement gap in their schools.


This post is part of our “Preparing Leaders for Deeper Learning” series. If you have thoughts about what today’s school leaders should know and be able to do and how they should be prepared, we’d love to hear from you. Contact [email protected] with the subject “Preparing Leaders” for more information.

To learn more, see:

Bonnie Lathram

Bonnie Lathram is a student advocate and former teacher.

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.