NCDPI Partners with NCPAPA, Belk Foundation to Launch Assistant Principal Accelerator Program

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For immediate release

Jan. 12, 2022


NCDPI Partners with NCPAPA, Belk Foundation Launch

Assistant Principal Accelerator Program


Partnering with the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association (NCPAPA) and the Belk Foundation, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and its partners will establish the Assistant Principal Accelerator Program, a statewide leadership initiative for rigorously selected Assistant Principals with a high potential for being fast-tracked into principalship.


Funded by NCDPI and the Belk Foundation, NCPAPA will establish the AP Accelerator Program, a statewide leadership initiative for rigorously selected Assistant Principals with a high potential for being fast-tracked into the principalship to combat shortages across the state. Each year North Carolina needs 250-300 highly trained school leaders who are ready to serve as principals, far more than the current supply. The shortage of principal-ready candidates hits the state’s highest-needs schools especially hard where turnover is the highest and conditions are the most challenging.


Assistant Principals, who typically spend 3-5 years in the role, will enter the AP Accelerator Program and receive targeted leadership development and coaching from proven practitioners in the field. Using a concentrated curriculum of leadership development experiences and coaching, the program will accelerate the readiness of selected assistant principals to lead and turnaround high-needs schools. NCPAPA will pilot and refine the curriculum with one cohort of 20-25 Assistant Principals and add additional cohorts with a goal of adding 100 principal-ready candidates each year to the candidate pool for high-needs schools.


“Excellent school leaders are critically important for North Carolina teachers, students and families,” said Belk Foundation Executive Director Johanna Anderson. “The Belk Foundation is pleased to support the innovative AP Accelerator Program to prepare principals.”


“As we know through the Wallace Foundation, principal effectiveness has a critical impact on student achievement and teacher satisfaction,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt said. “By investing in our assistant principals early in their careers, we make an investment in the future of North Carolina students and teachers. We appreciate the partnership of NCPAPA in helping us making this professional development opportunity a reality.”


“Investing in targeted, concentrated support for our most promising assistant principals is the best and fastest way to increase our pool of leaders who are ready and equipped to successfully lead their own schools,” said Dr. Shirley Prince, executive director at NCPAPA.


In existence since 1976, NCPAPA is the preeminent organization and state voice for principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders. NCPAPA was established with the firm belief that strong positive administrative leadership is the determining factor in the quality of a child’s public education in North Carolina. The Belk Foundation, a private family foundation, invests deeply in public education—specifically K-3 achievement and excellent teachers and leaders, both critical building blocks for successful education.