Search Is On For Dynamic New Cohort of Aspiring School Principals

December 3rd, 2014

Category: News, Policy and Practice

This is a guest blog post written by Shefon Taylor, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Innovative Schools. 

In its drive to close the achievement gap in public schools, the Delaware Leadership Project (DLP) is seeking applications from highly motivated educators who would like to be a part of the fifth cohort of the principal training program designed to develop a new class of school leaders. Applications are now being accepted for the intensive, full-time, 14-month program that is the state’s first alternate route to principal certification. The DLP was developed by Innovative Schools in partnership with the Delaware Department of Education as part of Delaware’s Race to the Top reform agenda and is designed to produce highly qualified, rigorously trained leaders for the state’s most high-needs schools.

Admission to the DLP is highly selective; approximately 10 seats are available in the 2015-16 cohort. Just 7 percent of applicants were selected for the fourth cohort this past year. Anyone interested in the program should begin the selection process, including the submission of an online application at and participation in group and individual interviews.

The DLP is tuition free to participants. Those accepted to the program will receive a stipend that is competitive with his/her current salary. To be considered, candidates must have a master’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited college or university; a minimum of three years of teaching experience; undergraduate and graduate GPAs of 3.0 or higher; outstanding communications and interpersonal skills; and a demonstrated ability to make strides in closing the achievement gap.

The DLP program consists of four phases:

  • A six-week summer intensive of coursework and training, which utilizes a project-based learning curriculum;
  • A 14-month school-based residency working side by side with a mentor principal, with ongoing coursework one day each week;
  • A planning summer, during which graduates receive assistance as they transition into school leadership positions; and
  • Two years of ongoing coaching for graduates in their new roles.

Those accepted to the program commit to working for three years as a principal or assistant principal in one of Delaware’s high-needs schools.

Governor Jack Markell has endorsed the approach of the DLP. “We are attracting and preparing new school leaders with interest, innovation, and industriousness that will help our schools become the best in the country,” Markell said. “Their leadership will help us strengthen our schools so more students realize their potential, including their dreams in higher education and the world of work.”

Innovative Schools has modeled the DLP after NYC Leadership Academy’s Aspiring Principal Program. According to an independent study conducted by the Institute for Education and Social Policy at New York University, that program has demonstrated the capacity to reverse the decline of low-performing schools and narrow the gaps with higher-performing peer schools in elementary and middle-school English language arts and math.

The deadline for applications is January 31st, 2015. Four information sessions and three online webinars have been scheduled for those interested in applying. Information about times and locations of the information sessions and webinars may be obtained by visiting or by calling 302-656-4737.

Rodel Foundation of Delaware



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