National Principal Academy Fellowship

Empowering principals and school leadership team members to strengthen their instructional leadership skills in service of excellent teaching for all students.

Man grinning, surrounded by his students.

Program Participants

The National Principal Academy Fellowship (NPAF) is for school leaders, including principals, assistant principals, academic deans and teacher-coaches, who support the growth and development of teachers. Participants work at a variety of PK-12 settings, including traditional school districts, independent schools, and charter management organizations across the U.S.  We seek candidates who embody the mindsets and beliefs of anti-racism, collaboration, continuous improvement, equity focus, high standards in service of empowerment, intentionality, and personal responsibility.

Program Focus

Research has shown that school leadership matters, influencing student outcomes in significant ways. The National Principal Academy Fellowship program develops school leaders’ skills in culture and instruction, helping leaders to align their decisions to the needs of their students, teachers, school, and communities. We delve deeply into areas such as:

  • Centering Equity:  Strengthening awareness and strategies to systematically increase opportunity and remove barriers for historically underserved students
  • Instructional Rigor: Building deep knowledge of the instructional shifts and evidence of teaching and learning required by new standards
  • Coaching: Building skills in observation and coaching, to support all teachers
  • Data-Informed Instruction: Leading teams in effective lesson internalization and response to student learning needs
  • Strategic Planning: Planning for implementation, monitoring progress, and practicing strategies for responding to close gaps. 

Program Experience

The National Principal Academy Fellowship is a one-year program consisting of 60 hours of professional development during summer, followed by three multi-day intersessions throughout the year, aimed at deepening previous learning and introducing new content. In 2022-23, we will offer all-virtual cohort or hybrid options (Mostly in-person with some virtual).

Participants will benefit from:

  • Expert faculty: Learn from experienced practitioners who have demonstrated effectiveness in the field.
  • Feedback: Practice new skills and receive regular feedback via video assessments and learning teams
  • A network of peers: Join a national network of instructional leaders who can help support implementation and problem solve critical challenges

What makes a great partnership? Learn about more about what kind of organizations we work with and how we support them in Supporting Conditions and Infrastructure.

NPAF participants will have the option of an in-person or virtual track in either June or July. The time commitment and content are the same for each cohort. Availability of the in-person tracks will depend on demand, and in-person participants will need to be fully vaccinated and follow other COVID-19 protocols. See the FAQ page for more details.

The National Principal Academy Fellowship launches alongside the National Principal Supervisor Academy for the summer intensive, enabling cross-over and alignment within district teams.

For specific program dates and other details, see the NPAF 2022-23 Calendar.

Summer Intensive

June or July 2022 option

  • In-person and virtual cohorts available
  • 60 hours of programming


September/ October 2022

January/ February 2023

April/ May 2023

  • In person and virtual cohorts available
  • 16-24 hours of programming per intersession

Program Cost

$15,000* per participant

*An early bird discount of $1,000 per participant will be applied for seats requested before March 14th, for $14,000 total program costs

The program cost reflects staffing and overhead for this program. As we don’t want price point to be a barrier, in 2022-23 Relay will subsidize in-person costs to ensure that participants can choose their preferred modality. Overall program costs are still lower than in the pre-pandemic model. The program fee therefore covers:

  • High-quality instructional professional development from experienced leaders
  • All course materials, licensing fees, and online access to electronic versions of resources
  • (In-person cohort) Hotel rooms (Granted on a first come, first served basis via the registration process).
  • (In-person cohort) Breakfast, lunch, and snacks


Partner organizations should request seats for their leaders by the following deadlines. Seats are filled on a first-come-first-served basis and may fill up quickly.

Priority deadline: Monday, February 14, 2022

Final deadline: April 22nd, 2022

Please note: In-person programming is currently full. To be placed on the waitlist, fill out the request seats form below and you will be notified if seats become available.

For more information about how to request seats, see The Partnership Process.

Eddie Rangel
Quotation mark icon

Participating in Relay's Leadership Programs turned pedagogy into meaningful outcomes for our kids, which, in my opinion, ranks it among the best professional development opportunities for educators across the globe.

- Eddie Rangel

Eddie's Story

“[When] I was accepted into Relay's NPAF Leadership Program and [I] found myself in an inspiring community of practitioners who believe in the extraordinary capabilities of every child and school. Over the course of a year, our school not only succeeded but grew into one of the top-performing schools in our county and state. Participating in Relay's Leadership Programs turned pedagogy into meaningful outcomes for our kids, which, in my opinion, ranks it among the best professional development opportunities for educators across the globe.”

- Eddie Rangel

Executive Director, Adelante Schools

National Principal Academy Fellowship, 2019

Leverage Leadership Institute, 2020

Ready to Partner?

Are you ready to become a Relay partner? To learn more about our programs, complete our interest form.

Request Seats

If you are already a Relay partner, complete the seat request form to reserve spots in our leadership programs.