September 21, 2022

NC Instructional Leadership Academy to support hundreds of principals statewide

The following is a press release from NC Public Schools

Hundreds of North Carolina school principals are joining a new statewide initiative to strengthen instructional leadership in the state’s highest-need schools.

Led by the District and Regional Support Office of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the North Carolina Instructional Leadership Academy (NC ILA) is a partnership between the state agency and the Relay Graduate School of Education , an institution offering programs in cities across the country, to help principals build capacity and enhance the quality of teaching and learning in their schools.

The initiative calls for up to 1,600 school and district leaders to participate in a two-year professional development fellowship. The program is funded by the state’s Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) grant.

A total of 441 schools are eligible to participate based on their 2018-2019 accountability data. Each school is encouraged to bring a principal, a district leader and two additional school representatives – preferably those who work to build the school’s educational capacity.

Cynthia Martin, senior director of district and regional support, said the initiative provides an unprecedented opportunity for school leaders and varsity coaches working in high-needs schools across the state.

“Relay’s leadership program is grounded in proven, research-based leadership practices that create school communities with a strong culture, rigorous instruction, and dramatic student outcomes,” said Martin. “The Curriculum Core Competencies and Practices emphasize many of the best practices used by highly effective school leaders across the country to achieve exceptional student outcomes. National Relay programs have a proven track record of developing leaders who can transform schools.

The program was piloted in North Carolina during the 2021-22 school year at 12 schools in Robeson County Public Schools and has now expanded to include all schools in the district.

Windy Dorsey-Carr, executive director of school transformation for Robeson County Public Schools, told the Robesonian newspaper that the work has created a common language and understanding of what to look for in the classroom.

“The impact of last year’s work reflects the growth that can be seen throughout the school district,” Dorsey-Carr said. “By putting all these measures in place, we will be able to continue to grow our students at an even faster rate,”

During the two-year fellowship, participants from across the state will meet four times a year for one-day, in-person sessions at one of four regional locations, depending on proximity, in Greenville, Greensboro , Charlotte and Wilmington.

The first year of the program will focus on leading a student culture centered on equity and on observation and feedback. The second year will focus on weekly data meetings and planning meetings. DPI’s Office of Academic Standards will also work with the leadership academy to develop additional resources and support to assist participants during the two years of the program.

In addition to professional development provided to all program participants, six districts in CARES, North Carolina’s Intensive Support Model, will benefit from job-embedded professional development, coaching, and mentoring. additional on-site support. The six districts are Anson, Nash, Northampton, Robeson, Tyrrell, and Washington.


Relay Graduate School of Education is an accredited, nonprofit institution of higher education serving thousands of educators nationwide, from pre-service teachers to system leaders. Our mission is to ensure that all students are taught by excellent educators, in order to build a more just world where every student has a clear path to a fulfilling life. Our graduate and certification programs, teacher residencies and professional training offerings are equity-focused and practice-based, led by experienced practitioners and designed to build community among a diverse set of peers. . Through in-person and online programming, we can offer students the flexibility and opportunity to learn with an extensive network of faculty.


EdNC staff reports are based on staff, interns and columnists.