NC State
NC State Principal Preparation

The Northeast Leadership Academy


NELA recruits and rigorously selects exemplary teachers with high leadership potential for participation for its context specific field-based preparation program designed to develop 21st Century school leaders for rural, high- need, hard-to-staff schools in northeastern North Carolina. At the end of the two-year program, participants will earn a school principal license (certification) and a Master degree of School Administration. Graduates make a three-year post degree commitment to lead high-need schools in Northeast North Carolina. Graduates sign a promissory note for the amount of the tuition fellowship with the provison that one-third of the obligation will be forgiven at the end of each year of subsequent employment in the partner districts. If the graduate fails to obtain a leadership position (because of lack of openings or other considerations), a tuition forgiveness deferment will be enacted.
The original NELA program included Cohorts I-III.

NELA 2.0

NELA 2.0 brings together a land-grant university and a consortium of 13 rural, high-need school districts to increase student achievement by preparing and retaining assistant principals and principals to serve as instructional leaders in the consortium’s high-need schools. The project is called NELA 2.0 because it builds upon the successes of other funded projects among the partners and is part of a comprehensive initiative to increase student achievement in northeast North Carolina (NC). NELA 2.0 builds on, refines, and expands the work of an the original NELA Innovative Leaders Academy. The new NELA 2.0 program will include professional development for current principals and creates a succession plan for the Northeast North Carolina region with the ultimate outcome of increasing student achievement by achieving four objectives:

Objective 1: Principal Academy

100 leaders of high-need schools will complete a summer intensive, PD program on instructional leadership for digital learning and management and receive executive coaching to apply their learning.

Objective 2: Innovative Leaders Academy – Cohorts IV and VI

30 new leaders prepared (Master Degree and License), hired, supported, and retained through an induction program and executive coaching

Objective 3: Executive Coaching

Provide individualized, executive coaching for both Principal Academy and ILA participants.

Objective 4: Disseminate and Replicate

Take lessons-learned from Objectives 1-3 and develop processes that allow project designed training methods and materials to be replicated and incorporated into leadership preparation programs.


NELA-DST is focused on both preparing future leaders and sustaining and supporting those who are already in leadership positions in SIG schools. NELA-DST’s goals include specialized preparation, purposeful hiring of the best leaders for SIG schools, on-going support for SIG leaders, and retention of effective leaders.


Evaluation of NELA Fellows


The evaluation of the NELA Fellow is multifaceted including:

1. Course-by-course evaluations
2. Fellow self assessment of state standards and competencies (end of each semester)
3. Executive Coaches assessment of Fellows on state standards and competencies (three times during principal residency year)
4. Principal Mentor assessment of Fellows on state standards and competencies (two times during principal residency year)
5. Project Director’s assessment of Fellows on state standards and competencies (end of each semester)

Each Fellow has an electronic portfolio that provides documentation of each of these facets. Additionally, the portfolio contains evidences or artifacts for each standard.

Rigorous Program Selection: Candidate Assessment Day
Please view the video below to learn about our Candidate Assessment Day for NELA’s Cohort V.

Formative Assessment Day
NELA conducted Formative Assessment Day with Cohort IV fellows in April of 2015. Fellows participated in scenarios they may face as a school administrator. They were evaluated by NCSU faculty and the NELA project team and were given feedback. Fellows reflected on Formative Assessment Day and submitted reflection videos. View the agenda for the 2015 Formative Assessment Day and a sample fellow reflection video below.

GDE Error: Error retrieving file - if necessary turn off error checking (404:Not Found)

Fellows’ Digital Portfolios
Each fellow creates his or her own digital portfolio with information about assessments and self-assessments.