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Seven Universities to Take Part in New $47M Effort to Improve Principal Preparation

The Wallace Foundation has named seven universities to partner with their local school districts as part of a new $47 million initiative to improve principal preparation, particularly for high-need schools. We heartily congratulate the recipients – all AACTE member institutions – and their partners selected for the University Principal Preparation Initiative (the following descriptions are courtesy of The Wallace Foundation):

  • Albany State University (GA) – a public college in southwest Georgia serving a diverse student body. It currently offers master’s and specialist degrees in education leadership. Led by four full-time faculty members, the program last year enrolled 34 candidates. The university will work with Pelham City School System, Calhoun County School System, and Dougherty County School System, most of whose leaders graduated from the university’s program. Partners are the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the Gwinnett County Public Schools’s Quality-Plus Leader Academy and the NYC Leadership Academy.
  • Florida Atlantic University – a public research university with six campuses along Florida’s southeast coast. It offers certification, master’s, and specialist programs that lead to a certificate that qualifies graduates to work as an assistant principal. Last year, 150 students enrolled in these programs, which are served by 20 full-time and 15 adjunct faculty members. The university will work with Broward County Public Schools, the School District of Palm Beach County, and St. Lucie Public Schools. Partners are the Florida Department of Education and the University of Denver.
  • North Carolina State University – a public land-grant university in Raleigh offering both a master’s degree and doctoral program in education leadership. Last year, 135 students were enrolled in the programs, which employ six full-time, six clinical, and seven adjunct faculty members. The university plans to work with Johnston County Public Schools, Wake County Schools, and The Northeast Leadership Academy Consortium, made up of 13 small, rural districts. Partners are the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the North Carolina Governor’s Office and the University of Denver.
  • San Diego State University (CA) – a public university offering a master’s in education leadership and a credential for the principalship. The program places students in regional cohorts, with 20 to 30 students per grouping. The university has a partnership with the San Diego Unified School District in which all candidates are nominated by their principal. The program enrolls about 55 students served by seven full-time and two adjunct faculty members. In addition to the San Diego Unified School District, the university plans to work with Chula Vista Elementary School District and Sweetwater Union High School District. Partners are the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the University of Washington, and Bank Street College of Education.
  • University of Connecticut – a public land-grant university offering master’s and doctoral degrees in educational leadership. The Administrator Preparation Program enrolls about 100 students, with eight full-time and 12 adjunct faculty members. The university plans to work with Hartford Public Schools, Meriden Public Schools and New Haven Public Schools. Partners are the Connecticut State Department of Education, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the NYC Leadership Academy.
  • Virginia State University – a historically Black land-grant public university located south of Richmond. It offers two programs in education administration and supervision at the master’s and doctoral levels. Fifteen students are currently enrolled in the principal preparation program, which employs three full-time and two adjunct faculty members. The university plans to work with Henrico County Public Schools, Hopewell City Public Schools, and Sussex County Public Schools. Partners are the Virginia Department of Education and the Gwinnett County Public Schools’s Quality Plus Leader Academy.
  • Western Kentucky University – a public university in Bowling Green offering a master’s and a doctorate in education leadership. It enrolls 75 students served by four full-time, one half-time, and six adjunct faculty members. The university plans to work with the Green River Regional Education Cooperative, a consortium that provides resources and training to 42 school districts in Kentucky. Partners are the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

As they redesign their own programs in concert with local schools’ needs, these participants will form a professional learning community to share ideas and ultimately develop new principal preparation models to be shared with the broader field. In addition, participating states will study their policies around licensure and program approval to determine how they might better support research-based preparation models; they will share their work in a professional learning community as well.

The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) builds on many years of Wallace-supported work to improve the preparation of principals and other school and district leaders. AACTE has served as a communications partner for Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, publishing articles and hosting webinars and conference sessions to help share its lessons. Last year, AACTE joined three other organizations conducting field surveys, literature reviews, and other studies to inform UPPI. The findings of these studies were summarized in the report Improving University Principal Preparation Programs: Five Themes From the Field, released during AACTE’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.


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Rodrick Lucero

Vice President for Member Engagement and Support

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