Dramatic leadership changes in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and neighboring districts can disrupt strategic planning processes, decrease morale, and lower cost-effectiveness for schools. Moreover, officials from the North Carolina State Board of Education estimate that 50% of principals are eligible to retire within 5-7 years. Traditional principal preparation cannot keep up with demand.
Since its development in 2012, 80% of Queens University’s School Executive Leadership Academy (SELA) graduates are now serving in leadership roles, including assistant principal, dean, facilitator, Governor's Teachers' Advisory Committee member, and Project L.I.F.T. curriculum coach.
MORE ABOUT QUEENS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
SELA’s primary focus is building leadership skills in "real life" settings through experiential learning at a simulated school.
SELA is a partnership at Queens University among the McColl School of Business, the Cato School of Education and CMS. Admission is highly selective and requires the support of a recommending principal. After an intensive five-week summer training, participants have a residency year spent as a full-time intern to a trained mentor principal. During their first year on the job as a principal, participants continue to receive group and individual coaching sessions.
SELA’s Director Alison Hiltz said SELA teaches participants “how to lead adults, how to manage group dynamics, and how to create a school environment where teachers feel safe to be part of the decision making process.” She added, “Adults are more resistant to change, so excellent leadership skills are critical in the principal role.”
Since 2012, The Belk Foundation has invested $396,272 in Queens SELA.