NEWS RELEASES 2010-11 :: DECEMBER 2, 2010


The North Carolina State Board of Education today approved the Sandhills Leadership Academy and the Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy to offer professional development and alternative administrative licensure to aspiring principals who will lead low-performing and high-needs schools in 14 school districts.

"Our Career and College: Ready, Set, Go! initiative is all about ensuring that every child, no matter where he or she lives, graduates ready for a career, college or technical training. That means every school needs quality leaders, especially those that are low performing and high need," said Gov. Bev Perdue. "These leadership academies will help arm school leaders with the tools and knowledge they need to better serve our children."

The new academies will enroll a cohort of at least 20 aspiring principals each year and will focus on a case-study curriculum. Programs include a full-time, year-long clinical residency experience and weekly continued learning sessions during the residency year. Graduates could earn credit toward a Master's of School Administration. Academies will also serve as demonstration sites for additional principal leadership academies and provide support for program development and improvement in other university-school district partnerships.

"Effective school leaders play a critical role in improving student achievement and preparing graduates for higher education and the workplace," said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. "With about half of the state's current school leaders eligible for retirement in the next four years, it is more important than ever that we focus on developing the next generation of great principals who will successfully lead our schools in the future."

The Sandhills Regional Leadership Academy represents collaboration among school districts in Anson, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson and Scotland counties as well as Fayetteville State University, UNC-Pembroke, and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching. The 10 participating districts serve approximately 149,000 students and include 13 of the state's lowest-performing schools. District leaders predict there will be about 80 principal vacancies in area schools in the next four tears.

The Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy (PTLA) is a partnership among the Alamance Burlington School System, Asheboro City Schools, Guilford County Schools, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The school districts served by the PTLA have over 150,000 students and contain almost 100 high need schools. According to current school leader turnover data, these districts will lose almost 200 principals or assistant principals over the next three years and have difficulty in recruiting qualified candidates.

The state's first principal academy, the Northeast Leadership Academy, was designed by N.C. State University and opened in the fall of 2010. Twenty-five teachers and central office staff from low-achieving rural schools in Bertie, Hertford, Northampton, Halifax, Roanoke Rapids, Weldon City and Warren are currently enrolled in the program and working toward earning a Master's of School Administration.

The two new alternative licensure academies submitted proposals to the Department of Public Instruction in October and were selected for funding by a committee based on demonstrated need, sustainability, commitment, capacity to plan, ability to implement, quality of program design, interviews and site visits. The two new academies will open starting in the 2011-12 school year and will support the school leadership development work outlined in North Carolina's Career and College: Ready, Set, Go! education plan. Academies will receive funds from the state's Race to the Top grant and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

For more information, contact NCDPI Communications at 919.807.3450 or visit .

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.