NC State

NC State Principal Preparation

A Top Educational Leadership Preparation Program in U.S.*

*Out of over 774 principal preparation programs nationally, NC State is one of only 5 programs to ever earn the distinction of being named "Exemplary" by UCEA.

Learn about our graduates' impact

NC State University’s Educational Leadership Academy (NELA) seeks to increase student achievement by preparing and retaining principals in high-poverty, hard-to-staff, and historically low-performing schools. NELA creates a comprehensive leadership development and succession plan for NC high-need school districts. Each component is anchored in research-based best practices in leadership preparation and is designed to meet the specific contextualized needs of schools in North Carolina.

NELA was one of two Principal Preparation Programs Featured for its Innovative Program in a Recent Publication by the Hunt Institute.

83% of NELA first year principals met or exceeded growth in high-need, Title I schools vs. only 75% of experienced principals across all schools in the state reaching the same level of performance in 2014-2015.

Our educational leadership programs include:

Current Fellows


Wake Principal Leadership Program (WPLP)

Johnston Principal Leadership Academy (JPLA)


NCSU Cohort

NC State's Principal Fellows Cohort