NAESP and District of Columbia Public Schools Honor Pre-K–3 Leadership Academy Cohort

These educators represent the first Washington, D.C., cohort to participate in the award-winning professional learning program.

Alexandria, VA—November 17, 2022—With a commitment to preparing school leaders to help provide high-quality and aligned early learning, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) are pleased to announce 12 school leaders have recently completed the NAESP Pre-K–3 Leadership Academy®. The participants represent the first Washington, D.C., cohort to participate in the award-winning professional learning program that provides principals and other school leaders with a job-embedded experience in developmentally appropriate leadership practices.

“NAESP is proud to have joined together with District of Columbia Public Schools on early childhood education training,” said NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks, Ed.D., CAE. “We know an aligned learning experience from pre-K to grade 3 is crucial for students age 3 to age 8, and this academy equips educators with the skills to do just that. Congratulations to the graduates, whose hard work and dedication to their profession will pay dividends in student learning and growth in the early grades.”

The academy supported Washington, D.C., school leaders in deepening their knowledge of the needs of young children and sharpening their skills as instructional leaders of early learning, a critical missing component in aligned early learning systems. NAESP’s foundational competency guide, Leading Learning Communities: A Principal’s Guide to Early Learning and the Early Grades (Pre-K−3rd Grade), provides the framework for the NAESP Pre-K-3 Leadership Academy.

The DCPS cohort focused on competencies such as developing and fostering partnerships with families and communities, ensuring equitable learning opportunities, promoting a culture of continuous improvement, and building professional capacity across the learning community. In addition to coursework, cohort members participated in a culminating Capstone Project that allowed them to apply their learning to a problem of practice within their school or district.

“DC Public Schools is proud to have a group of school leaders who made the professional commitment to deepen their leadership around the crucial years of early childhood learning,” said DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee. “By participating in the NAESP program, DCPS school leaders further developed their knowledge and skills to create a seamless educational continuum that is based on the science of how young children learn.”

NAESP and our partners at DCPS congratulate these Pre-K–3 Leadership Academy participants, who received their certification as a Pre-K–3 Credentialed Leader:

  • Amanda Delabar, Principal, Tubman Elementary School
  • Akela Dogbe, Principal, Moten Elementary School
  • Franchita Eborn, Principal, Simon Elementary School
  • Malaika Golden, Principal, Aiton Elementary School
  • Derek Gorham, Head Start Principal, C.W. Harris Elementary School
  • Angel Hunter, Head Start Principal, King Elementary School
  • Fatima Johnson, Assistant Principal, Patterson Elementary School
  • Demetrius Lucas, Head Start Principal, Hendley Elementary School
  • Harold McCray, Head Start Principal, Stanton Elementary School
  • Lisa Rosado, Head Start Principal, Savoy Elementary School
  • Naimah Salahuddin, Principal, Drew Elementary School
  • Jennifer Tompkins, Principal, Bunker Hill Elementary School

The leadership academy advisors were:

  • Carolyne Albert-Garvey, Interim Instructional Superintendent, Cluster 6
  • Gwendolyn Payton, Principal, Beers Elementary School

For more information about the NAESP academy contact NAESP Associate Executive Director, Professional Learning, Gracie Branch, Ph.D., at