Aspiring Principals Program


 About the Program

The Aspiring Principals Program is a year-long program of education, apprenticeship, field immersion experiences, and coaching that meets the requirements for licensure and can also lead to a M.Ed. in Organizational Management.  Participants benefit from a four-week Summer Intensive, twelve seminar sessions during the course of the school year, a practicum or internship under the supervision of a trained Mentor Principal,  and 1:1 coaching sessions with a master practitioner who has had years of experience leading an urban school.  Problem-based learning (PBL)—a method of instruction first developed at Harvard Medical School for the formative training of physicians and later adapted for the development of principals at Stanford—is the major training vehicle for the Aspiring Principals Program. 


Application Information

 Please complete this 

application form (pdf)

 or email: Marie Deedy  or June Eressy  for an electronic application. 

Follow the mailing instructions at the end of the application. When complete, submit with a $50 application fee. Completed applications are due by February 28, 2018. We strongly recommend that applications be submitted as soon as possible. Interviews will be scheduled in late March and early April 2018.

Upon acceptance into program, one must submit a $300 non-refundable deposit which will be applied to the July 1, 2018 tuition payment.

Contact Marie Deedy for any additional information. 


What Makes the Aspiring Principals Program Unique

Problem-based learning (PBL) provides the foundation for the Aspiring Principals Program. A methodology that has proved especially effective in the formative development of physicians has provided comparably effective PBL in the training of school principals. The  training strategy for the preparation of professionals that uses a problem as the starting point for learning. The problems are ones that students are apt to face as future professionals and the knowledge students are expected to acquire during their training is organized around these problems, rather than disciplines. Students work in project teams on these problems and assume major responsibility for their own instruction and learning. The instructor, instead of lecturing or leading a discussion on a particular topic, creates a hypothetical situation for the students and defines the learning objectives, provides the resources, and determines the modes of assessment. The instructor then takes a back seat as an observer and an adviser while the students work out a viable solution.


Program Components

Starting with a four-week Summer Intensive, participants experience the challenges and rewards of leadership through problem-based learning events organized around a low-performing scenario school.  Participants work in teams to formulate a coherent plan that begins with establishing a much-needed focus based on analysis of multiple data points and indicators of the school’s current performance levels, and expands to include initiating and managing the improvement process and developing a purposeful community.Embedded in addressing the larger PBL events in these topics are skill-building opportunities in data analysis, agenda setting, team building, conflict resolution, instructional implementation and monitoring, supervision and evaluation, the giving and receiving of feedback in 360-degree evaluations, and public presentations.During the subsequent school year, participants attend regular seminars that delve into these and other topics and skills in more depth.  Additionally, they benefit from 1:1 coaching from master practitioners distinguished by their exemplary leadership of Massachusetts schools.  Those seeking licensure complete a 500-hour practicum in their school under their building principal. On an optional basis, participants can also pursue an M.Ed. in Organizational Management through Endicott College; no additional course work is required. 


Masters Degree Option

Program participants have the option of earning a Master's degree in Organizational Management from Endicott College. Successful completion of the Urban Principals Development Program (UPDP) modules fulfill the requirements of the Master's in Organizational Management from Endicott College. Tuition and fees for the Master's degree are approximately $3,850 over and above the cost of the UPDP licensure program.  Financial aid is available through Endicott College.


2018 Program Features

Program Features:

  1. Four-week Summer Intensive featuring Problem-Based Learning
  2. 500-hour practicum in a school with a Mentor Principal
  3. Seventeen seminar classes including support for MA-PAL tasks
  4. Supervised field immersion experiences and One-to-One coaching
  5. Completion of program and requisite ESE MA-PALs lead to Administrator Licensure
  6. M.Ed. in Organizational Managment (optional - additional cost; financial aid available)

Application Prerequisites:

  • Teaching License
  • An undergraduate or graduate school record
  • Currently employed with 3-5 years of teaching experience

Course schedule:

Summer Intensive: July 2 - July 27, 2018 (no class July 4th)
Seminar Classes: Seventeen seminar classes on Thursday evenings and Saturdays throughout the school year



Registration Costs:

The Aspiring Principals Program includes the program and licensure. Admission to the program will be competitive. Tuition is $12,000.  The additional cost for participants seeking a Master Degree is approximately $3,850    




Urban Leadership program participant

I guess the ratings say it all…. Overall, it was a challenging, time consuming, exhausting program that I felt was completely worth every minute of lost sleep!"

Urban Leadership program participant

The summer intensive was even better than advertised! Just yesterday, my brother in law asked me "how I did" in the program as in what grade did I get. He knew, everyone knew, how hard I worked and he could only assume there was an evaluation of some sort. I told him there was no grade and that reflected on the value of the program. We worked impossibly hard simply because we believed in the work and the possibility of improving ourselves as professionals."

Urban Leadership program mentor

This graduate has made progress with developing much needed systems in her building, she has established clear protocols, developed lines of communication, and she is taking an active role in her building by leading from the 'front'."

Urban Leadership program mentor

I think this graduate is a star. Our relationship is very strong; he makes sure he includes me in the loop. He thinks very much out of box, yet he is a traditionalist in many other ways. He is very comfortable with himself which is not always the case with first time leaders...My instincts and what I have seen so far tell me that he is a profoundly talented leader."

Urban Leadership program mentor

I learned much from (my mentee). I am not sure if it was the individual or the program but she was by far the most productive and effective intern I have had. To date I have mentored 10 principal interns. She taught me what a prepared intern should look like before they take on the role of principal. I also learned much about Common Core."


Program History

Problem-based learning (PBL) underpins the Program for Aspiring Principals. Using problem-based learning approaches for training and professional development was first pioneered with physicians-in-training at Harvard Medical School. Some years later, PBL was refined at Stanford University for the preparation of school principals. Research at Harvard and Stanford on the effectiveness of the training model has consistently shown that graduates—whether physicians or principals—are far more astute at problem diagnosis, consensus building, the formulation of solutions, and decision making. 

For the last sixteen years PBL has been the hallmark of the training of New York City principals through the New York City Leadership Academy (NYCLA). Some of the most notable foundations funded NYCLA very generously to support others who would do likewise. Teachers21 became the beneficiary of NYCLA's know-how when the organization was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to pilot a comparable training program to prepare leaders for highly challenging schools in the states. This program evolved into the Urban Principals Development Institute.



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