NC State’s Principal Leadership Academies: Context, Challenges, and Promising Practices
This research article describes North Carolina State University’s Leadership Academy (NELA), which has been recognized as an Exemplary Educational Leadership Preparation program by the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). This article details how faculty have refined and improved the program over the past 10 years. The authors discuss the initial program design and its evolving key features, including its funding, alignment to standards, and anchoring beliefs. The program’s experiential learning approach, which is guided by a pre-k–12 student and community focus, is described, as well as NELA’s key components around cohorts, adult learning theory, and divergent thinking. This article includes a description of the program’s rigorous candidate selection process and shares approaches faculty have taken to address program challenges.