Program | Aspiring Principals

Our Approach

Too often, principal preparation is disconnected from schools and classrooms. Aspiring Principals produces exceptionally skilled new principals through intensive study, a mentored residency, and induction support once participants take the helm of their own school.

Real-World Practice

Residents study and immediately apply the leadership skills that matter most, as they lead a team of teachers in a real school and grapple with the unpredictable challenges leaders encounter every day.

Expert Coaching

Participants benefit from job-embedded coaching during their residency and induction period. They also share challenges and reflect with peers in the program, forging a support network that will last through their careers.

Skills For Success

Aspiring Principals cultivates all the skills leaders need to succeed. This includes deep instructional expertise, but also the ability to foster high expectations and deliver trusted feedback that propels teacher growth.

Why Aspiring Principals?

One exceptional teacher can change a child’s life, but students — especially those disadvantaged by poverty — need consistently great teaching to thrive. Aspiring Principals develops school leaders capable of nurturing life-changing learning in every classroom, every day.

The heart of the Aspiring Principals program is a yearlong residency, including active participation on the Instructional Leadership Team. Throughout training, successful former principals help Residents master key skills as they coach a team of teachers toward success. By the end of the program, participants will know how to build strong teams capable of enacting ambitious school improvement plans.

Traditional principal training leaves many unprepared for the job

Leading For The Long Term

We seek candidates who believe all children can excel and prepare them with the skills to manage the demands of this complex and challenging job. New Leader Principals are uncommonly dedicated, remaining committed to their roles at rates well above the national average even while working in some of America’s highest-need schools.

of New Leaders remain as principals in their district for more than three years, compared with just 50 percent nationally

Strong Evidence Of Success

New Leaders has unmatched experience developing principals capable of transforming schools and students’ lives. A seven-year RAND Corporation study found that students at New Leader schools outperform peers at similar schools by a statistically significant margin specifically because they had a New Leader principal.

New Leaders-trained educators currently serve in supervisor or district leadership roles

Selection Is Key

We carefully screen candidates to identify a diverse and talented group of educators with strong instructional expertise, a record of raising achievement, and the disposition to lead others to excellence.

Because past performance is the best predictor of future success, we continuously evaluate participants throughout the Residency year. Participants must demonstrate proficiency in key skills and lead measurable increases in student achievement to earn endorsement for the principalship. It’s a high bar, but with our rigorous training and robust on-the-job support, most participants meet it, ensuring they are well prepared as a new principal.

Leader Spotlight

Jasmine Thurmond | Chicago, IL

Jasmine Thurmond considered herself an accomplished instructional leader when she began her Aspiring Principals training, so she began observing math classrooms from her very first week as a Resident at Abinger Elementary School. But teachers pushed back on her recommendations. “I hit a brick wall early on because I lacked adult leadership skills.”

After conferring with her mentor and peers, she crafted a plan to build credibility. She met with teachers individually, held weekly coffee hours and solicited teachers’ ideas to improve student learning. By Thanksgiving, her visits and feedback were welcome, and teachers asked to observe one another to share strategies to improve. She led a team effort to ensure lessons met new standards, including articulating mathematical thinking, identifying misconceptions, and leading peers in rigorous discussions.

By May, students at all levels — including high achievers and those with learning disabilities — had demonstrated significant growth on interim assessments.  And the skills she mastered as a Resident set her up for success as interim principal at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy of Social Justice, where she will continue to benefit from induction support and coaching during her first year.


"Adult leadership is not about making friends, it’s about building a relationship of trust around the fact that we are literally saving the lives of children with every lesson we teach.”

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New Leaders programs are available only within the United States