School & District Management

‘New Leaders’ Group to License Principals in N.C.

By Lesli A. Maxwell — December 10, 2008 2 min read

New Leaders for New Schools, a national nonprofit organization that recruits and grooms principals to serve in high-poverty schools, announced today that next year it will begin training leaders in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., district.

At the same time, leaders with the New York City-based group announced that the North Carolina board of education had approved a new policy to allow its principal-trainees to become licensed by the state without having to go through a university-based training program. That arrangement—which was a key factor in Charlotte’s success in attracting New Leaders—is similar to principal-licensure agreements that the organization already has with state departments of education in Maryland, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Wisconsin.

The 137,000-student Charlotte-Mecklenburg district is the 10th to partner with New Leaders since the organization was founded in 2000 and started training its first class of principals a year later. Charlotte was selected from a pool of more than 20 districts whose education and civic leaders sought to bring New Leaders to their cities next year, said Jackie Gran, the national director for growth and policy for the organization.

Ms. Gran said strong district leadership in Superintendent Peter C. Gorman and Charlotte’s supportive corporate and philanthropic community also gave the city an edge over other applicants.

“We know that a great superintendent is essential and that for this partnership to be a successful, long-term endeavor, you’ve got to have great local engagement,” Ms. Gran said. “Charlotte-Mecklenburg has both.”

The addition of Charlotte-Mecklenburg to New Leaders’ portfolio moves the organization toward its goal of working in as many as 15 urban districts within the next six years. In addition, the group aims to have, on average, one-third of each of those district’s schools run by one of its principals, said Jon Schnur, the chief executive officer.

“We are making the bet that Charlotte has very good prospects to become a city that can be a proof point that kids at all income levels can learn at high levels when the conditions are right,” said Mr. Schnur, who co-founded New Leaders.

The organization plans to recruit, train, and place roughly 50 principals in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools over the next five years, Ms. Gran said. Training for the first group will start in June. New Leaders also works in Baltimore, Chicago, the District of Columbia, Memphis, Tenn., Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York City, Prince George’s County, Md., and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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