Gov. Perdue announces Northeast Leadership Academy

Published 10:50 am Monday, August 9, 2010

RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue has announced a leadership program geared toward turning around rural schools in northeastern North Carolina.

The Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA), to launch in August, will bring a master’s of school administration program from North Carolina State University to a group of 25 teachers and central office staff from school districts in Bertie, Hertford, Northampton, Halifax, Roanoke Rapids, Weldon City and Warren.

“Training and retaining new leaders at North Carolina’s most underperforming school districts is crucial for the success of the students who live there,” said Gov. Perdue. “NELA will provide pathways to not only develop 21st century school leaders, but to also keep them in these districts.”

The NELA program requires participants to work both in and out of the classroom. In the second year of the two-year program, participants will be released from their normal work duties for a full year so they can complete course work, participate in internship rotations at various schools, visit high performing schools and attend national conferences.

After graduation, all participants will make a three-year commitment to work in high-need schools in the northeastern part of the state. Those school districts will utilize NELA graduates as the first line of replacements for openings in principal and assistant principal positions in the districts’ high-needs schools.

“Current projections indicate that more than 50 percent of the principals in North Carolina public schools will be eligible to retire within the next four years,” said Bill Harrison, chairman of the State Board of Education. “This new program and partnership with N.C. State will help us put highly trained teachers and administrators in the leadership positions in our most needy school districts.”

Derived from research based best practices, NCSU has developed a new model of preparation, early career support, and continuous professional development for participants who have the commitment to lead these schools. The program was developed by Drs. Bonnie Fusarelli and Matt Militello with collaboration from the State Board of Education, the N.C. Dept of Public Instruction, current and retired principals, and professional development organizations.

The NELA program is funded in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the N.C. State Board of Education. The program will be part of the Department of Leadership, Policy and Adult and Higher Education at N.C. State’s College of Education. There are two additional leadership academies being developed in collaboration with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, LEAs and the State Board of Education.