25 selected for Deputy Principal Accelerator Leadership Program

The following is a press release from North Carolina Public Schools

Twenty-five principals from across North Carolina have been selected for the inaugural cohort of the Assistant Principal (AP) Accelerator Leadership Program, a joint partnership between the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association (NCPAPA), the Belk Foundation and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). The newly created AP Accelerator program is a statewide leadership initiative funded by the NCDPI and the Belk Foundation to accelerate the tracking of promising assistant directors for senior positions.

Superintendents have nominated more than 60 people across the state for the program. After a rigorous selection process, the inaugural cohort of 25 members was identified by NCPAPA. The selected cohort members represent a range of diversity and experience; nearly half of the participants are people of color, three out of four are women, and participants have an average of three years of experience. Selected participants will enter the AP Accelerator program and receive targeted leadership development and coaching from proven practitioners in the field.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt emphasized the importance and value of this principal-focused professional development opportunity.

“The AP Accelerator program allows us to invest in school leaders and grow the pool of highly qualified and excellent principals in our state,” Truitt said. “As a teacher, I know that principals are the great multipliers of excellence, building and maintaining school morale, so we want to prioritize this group of professionals and ensure they are supported and benefit from professional development opportunities to continue to grow.”

Tabari Wallace, special adviser to the state superintendent on senior engagement, said he was confident the first cohort would complete the program with strong leadership skills.

“After a rigorous selection process, we are excited to accelerate the skills, effective practices and academic turnaround capacity of the 25 cohort participants,” Wallace said. “This approach will begin to bridge the perceived gap between highly skilled leadership and highly effective leadership.”

Working with NCPAPA and a team of highly effective and experienced mentors, the inaugural cohort will participate in a focused curriculum focused on skills and research-based practices associated with successful school turnaround efforts. They will also receive intensive coaching and group mentoring to accelerate their preparation to lead and transform high-needs schools.

“We were extremely pleased with the caliber of people nominated for the program. With only 25 spots available, the selection process was very difficult,” said NCPAPA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Shirley Prince.

NCPAPA will pilot and refine the program with the inaugural cohort and add additional cohorts with the goal of adding 100 leadership-ready candidates to the pool of candidates for high-needs schools each year.

Click here to see a list of the inaugural cohort 2022-2023

The program is funded by several partners, including the Belk Foundation, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the North Carolina Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education and the NC Alliance of School Leadership Development.

The Belk Foundation is a Charlotte-based family foundation that supports public education by strengthening teachers and school leaders and ensuring that students reach or exceed grade level by third grade. Now in its fourth generation of family leadership, the Belk Foundation is a public expression of the gratitude and commitment of the family that established the Belk department store organization. Since 2000, the Belk Foundation has invested over $53 million in our community. More information is available at www.belkfoundation.org.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation. Its mission is to serve and strengthen society by training a diverse group of biomedical science leaders to improve human health through education and discovery at the frontiers most needed.

The NC Science, Mathematics, Technology (SMT) Center focuses on improving education to provide all North Carolina students with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead successful careers, be good citizens, and do advance the state’s economy. Serving as a broker, facilitator, and catalyst for innovation and change in education, the SMT Center celebrates educational excellence in North Carolina and beyond by supporting educators, engaging students, and advancing the growing importance of having a STEM-educated workforce.

NCASLD’s mission is to develop the leadership capacity of aspiring and practicing school leaders through programs aligned with NC and national research-based performance assessment standards and competencies for highly effective school leadership. . NCASLD works together with its affiliate organizations, NCASA, NCSSA and NCPAPA to promote the achievement of NC’s educational goals with a focus on the well-being and needs of all children.

In existence since 1976, the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association is the preeminent organization and state voice for principals, assistant principals, and aspiring principals.


EdNC staff reports are based on staff, interns and columnists.

Kevin E. Boling