National Principals & Supervisors Academy

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. Principal supervisors actively develop their principals to achieve these goals.  

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 that prepares principals to become instructional and cultural leaders, not merely building managers. Now in its fourth year, the National Principals Academy is training more than 400 leaders from 24 states and the District of Columbia and 85 school systems to improve the lives of more than 300,000 students across the United States.  School leaders attend a two week summer intensive and four weekend intersessions throughout the year.  

Recognizing that principal supervisors are essential leaders in driving system-level instructional improvement across a school district or network, Relay launched the National Principal Supervisors Academy in 2016. In this program, more than 85 principal supervisors have joined the academy with their team of principals to participate in a unique opportunity to learn from expert supervisors, watch excellence in action, and receive ongoing, targeted feedback on their work as they supervise principals across networks of schools.   

Like all Relay programs, the leadership academies approach emphasizes individualized, job-embedded practice.  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.  

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 and National Principal Supervisors Academy, Relay operates a Master of Education in Instructional School Leadership (Ed.M.) program for aspiring principals. Standout leaders who successfully complete this program are eligible to apply to the Ed.M. program.  For more information about the Ed.M. program, or any other questions about instructional leadership at Relay, please contact leadership@relay.edu.

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