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First-of-its-kind Partnership Aims to Increase Number of School Principals of Color

In an effort to dramatically boost the number of principals of color leading K-12 schools across the country, national nonprofit New Leaders is forming a first-of-its-kind partnership with distinguished historically Black institutions Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University to launch the Aspiring Principals Fellowship.

The Fellowship is an online principal certification and master’s degree program designed to train the next generation of equity-focused school leaders who better reflect the students they serve. Half of all students in K-12 public schools identify as people of color, while only 1 in 5 principals do. Only 11% of principals are Black, and just 9% are Hispanic. Yet, research shows that principals of color deliver better outcomes for students of color and are more effective at hiring and retaining teachers of color.

“My high school principal refused to let me drop out after my father passed away and my mother returned to Haiti when I was 17. He believed in me when I did not believe in myself. The Fellowship will create more leaders like my principal who saw what a first generation Haitian-American student could become one day,” said New Leaders CEO Jean Desravines. “This will create the much-needed pipeline of diverse school leaders who are ready to make bold, transformational changes in service of our schools, our students and their families and our communities. This is a national crisis that demands nothing less than our full attention and strongest commitment so that every student has a chance at success.”

“Equity in the education of students of color must be an urgent national priority,” said David A. Thomas, Ph.D., Morehouse College president. “Our children need guidance and nurturing from principals who understand the unique cultural experiences, proud heritage, and sometimes challenging socio-economic circumstances that affect learning opportunities for young Black students and those from other minority groups. By using technology to extend the Morehouse experience beyond our campus through the innovative Aspiring Principals Fellowship, we are furthering our mission to develop men with disciplined minds for lives of leadership and service and preparing principals with the skills, perspectives, and insight they need to be compassionate educators with high standards of excellence who embrace the potential of all children.”

“Clark Atlanta University undoubtedly understands the importance of diversification in all spaces of our world. Our institution was established on the beliefs that all disenfranchised, particularly people of color, have access to higher education and better opportunities. Today, we continue our work toward that effort by partnering with New Leaders and the Aspiring Principals Fellowship,” said Clark Atlanta President George T. French Jr., Ph.D. “This partnership will give CAU scholars the knowledge, skills and tools needed to become principals and leaders in our nation’s schools and diversify the higher education leaders’ pipeline.”

School districts and charter school management organizations interested in sponsoring a cohort of educators to join the Aspiring Principals Fellowship can do so at fellowship.newleaders.org.

Noodle, the country’s fastest growing online higher education network, is developing a virtual learning platform for the Fellowship to facilitate a world-class online learning environment and highly interactive user experience for both faculty and students.

“We are huge fans of New Leaders, and are honored to have been chosen by them and these schools as a partner,” said Noodle CEO John Katzman. “We are excited to deepen our support for the HBCU community with the Aspiring Principals Fellowship.”

The Fellowship is made possible through anchor gifts from Ballmer Group, The Boeing Company, Hyde Family Foundation, Garrett and Mary Moran, Overdeck Family Foundation, Salesforce, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, and an anonymous donor, with additional generous support from Adtalem Global Education Foundation, Memphis Education Fund, and The Moriah Fund.

Educators enrolling in the Fellowship will join a nationwide network of 6,000 skilled leaders in more than 134 school districts who have completed New Leaders training to advance their leadership skills and help ensure that every student that walks through the doors of their schools can thrive.

For more on this groundbreaking new partnership, visit fellowship.newleaders.org.