National Principals Academy Fellowship

The National Principals Academy Fellowship Dean teaches to a large group of Principal Fellows.

At Relay, we believe a principal’s purpose is to ensure that all students learn to their maximum potential. The best principals raise student achievement in their schools by a range of two to seven months of learning in a single school year.

Three Principal Fellows work together on a National Principals Academy Fellowship project.

In partnership with Uncommon Schools, we created a new kind of principal training program, designed specifically for current principals: a one-year National Principals Academy Fellowship (NPAF) that prepares principals to become instructional and cultural leaders, not merely building managers. Now in its third year, NPAF is training more than 400 leaders from 24 states and more than 60 school districts across the United States. School leaders attend a two-week summer intensive and four weekend “intersessions” throughout the year.

Like all Relay programs, the NPAF approach emphasizes individualized, job-embedded practice. School leaders study their “game film”: They record their feedback and professional development sessions with colleagues, analyze them with faculty members, practice new approaches, and immediately apply what they learn to their own school contexts. We also realize that the principal managers at the district and organizational level are key partners in our work, and require that they attend key sessions during the summer in order to better support NPAF participants throughout the year.

Relay’s leadership faculty and content architects include Uncommon Schools' Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, author of Driven by Data, Leverage Leadership, and Great Habits, Great Readers; Uncommon Schools' Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a ChampionTeach Like a Champion 2.0, and Practice Perfect; Dave Levin, Co-Founder of KIPP and Co-Founder of the Character Lab; and Uncommon Schools’ Julie Jackson, winner of Teach For America’s Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership.

In addition to the National Principals Academy Fellowship, Relay is currently operating the pilot launch of a Master's in Education Leadership (EdM) program for aspiring principals. For more information about the EdM program, NPAF, or any other questions about instructional leadership at Relay, please contact

Female Principal Fellow adds a response to a poster during class.