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Professional development for principals to improve their own practice and to mentor the next generation of leaders!

Educators are well aware of the growing shortage of qualified effective candidates for principal positions and the challenge of retaining highly experienced principals in the field. In addition, federal and state legislative madates are placing great burdens of accountability on schools and directing the introduction and use of mentors for principals. New principals more than ever feel the pressure of leading the change process, further developing a successful school, or transforming a failing school. Often they approach their critical roles and responsibilities through a different lens that an experienced principal and must be capable of continuously assessing their schools’ growth.

NAESP’s National Mentor Training and Certification Program offers a highly structured professional development program which integrates a mentor training component that can make the critical difference in sustainability of skilled leaders.

The National Principal Mentor Training and Certification Program is comprised of two parts:

Part I) Leadership Immersion Institute (LII)

The 2 day Leadership Immersion Institute is the opening event of the program. The focus of this workshop is the actual mentoring process. Participants explore the theoretical foundations of adult development, adult learning, and mentoring. Once grounded in these theoretical foundations, the participants learn various practical techniques and strategies of the mentoring relationship under the guidance of the LII training team.

Participants receive 15 professional development hours for completing the Leadership Immersion Institute. 

Part II) National Principal Mentor Certification Program (NPMCP)

Upon completion of the LII, principals who choose the optional certification will transition into the nine-month Mentor-in-Training (MIT) internship. The process begins with the mentor-in-training identifying and selecting a protégé who agrees to participate in the MIT program. Each month, the mentor and protégé interact (electronically or in person) for a total of 72 contact hours. The mentor reports his or her work to the coach who has been assigned to his or her team of MITs. Online chats or conference calls are also held monthly for mentors and coaches to discuss the mentoring process, lessons learned, and recommendations. A final project is completed regarding the mentoring experience.

Award of Certification

Principals who complete both the institute and the internship are awarded a national certification as a principal mentor that is renewable after three years. Even though the MIT component of the program is optional, both LII and NPMCP must be completed in order to receive the certification.

NAESP involves mentors in focus groups at the NAESP Annual Conference, data collection, program analysis, continued communications, association engagement opportunities, etc. Many certified mentors have developed programs for school districts, hired as consultants, published articles, and completed doctoral work.

Certified Mentors Renewal

This 1 day training is focused on renewing and updating knowledge and skills based on the most recent information and research in the field of mentoring. The learning may be leveraged through an optional follow up activity to include reflection and discussion experiences for participants. This continued work will further the exploration of the Professional Standards for Education Leaders 2015, formerly known as the ISLLC Standards.

Note that effective July 1, 2014 NAESP Mentor Certification is on a three year renewal process to ensure continuous and current skill development. All NAESP Nationally Certified Mentors certified prior to January 2012 are encouraged to check the website for renewal opportunities. 

This video, from the May 1, 2014, training in Lisle, Illinois, gives a snapshot of the NAESP Mentor Training Program. Here, a group of engaged, committed experienced principals work together to develop mentoring skills to coach and guide the next generation of school leaders.

Connecting Leadership Standards

The mentor program applies the six standards from NAESP’s landmark document, Leading Learning Communities: Standards for What Principals Should Know and Be Able to Do, Second Edition. To review the NAESP Mentor Competencies please click here. 

Participants are instrumental in:

  • Creating a model for instructional leadership mentor training that is consistent with professional standards and addresses specific needs of school principals and other administrators.
  • Ensuring leadership succession.
  • Addressing the leadership needs of new/newly assigned principals.
  • Responding to the growing national school leadership shortage.
  • Promoting ongoing development of professional mentoring.

Mentor training provides a win-win situation for mentors and their protégés. Mentors give back to the profession while the protégé receives on-the-job training from an experienced principal.


 Mentor Training Schedule


Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, TX
June 15-16, 2017
(Closed Session)



For more information on the NAESP National Princiapl Mentor Training and Certification Program please contact Kristin Barnard at or call (703)518-6240.