National Aspiring Principals Academy

National Aspiring Principals Academy


The National Aspiring Principals Academy is a joint partnership between AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and The National Association for Elementary School Principals (NAESP). This highly engaging year-long professional learning experience will directly bolster the effectiveness and preparation of all aspiring school principals across the nation. The academy follows a cohort model designed to support aspiring principals in acquiring the essential knowledge, skills and practices needed to advance to the next leadership level.

This standards-based professional learning opportunity will provide an insightful blend of theory and practice through in-person sessions and a virtual platform by highly skilled, nationally recognized educational leaders and mentors. Participants will implement learned strategies to address a problem of practice resulting in a culminating Capstone Project capturing their work. In collaboration with local jurisdictions, participants may be able to use this experience as part of their executive internship for administrative certification.

2021 Academy Details:

Format: Combination of virtual meetings and in-person meetings in Alexandria, VA
Lead Instructors: Dr. Gail Pletnick, AASA and Eric Cardwell, NAESP

Academy Dates:

  • January 27-28, 2021 - virtual
  • February 24, 2021 - virtual
  • March 24, 2021 - virtual
  • April 21, 2021 - virtual
  • May 26, 2021 - virtual
  • June 28-29, 2021 - virtual
  • July 26-27, 2021 - virtual
  • August 9-10, 2021 - Alexandria, VA (if possible)

Academy Fee: 

$3,500 per participant due upon acceptance into the National Aspiring Principals Academy. Fee includes training, learning materials, and meals for  in-person academy meetings. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses for in-person meetings.

The application period has now closed.

Who is Encouraged to Apply?

Anyone who aspires to become a principal and improve in their principal practice is encouraged to apply. Participants may be teacher leaders, assistant principals or early career principals. The academy is designed to support aspiring principals in acquiring the essential knowledge, skills and practices needed to advance to the next leadership level.

All participants will complete an application. Submissions will be reviewed and final selections determined by a panel from AASA and NAESP.

Each cohort will have a minimum of 25 participants. Applications will be screened for the highest quality of candidates.

Academy Goal:

The goal of the academy is to produce transformational principals rather than traditional building managers. Graduates of the academy should be well equipped to lead 21st century schools with creativity, vision, and a commitment to equity and excellence.

Academy Outline:

  • Knowing Yourself as a Leader
  • Communication and Situational Leadership
  • Leading and Connecting
  • The Principal as Instructional Leader
  • The Principal’s Role in Providing Feedback and Building Professional Learning Communities
  • The Principal’s Role in Addressing Critical Issues and Trends
  • Supervision and Human Capital Management
  • Capstone Project Presentations

For additional information contact Katie Earley: