• Aspiring Principals Program

    Aspiring Principals Academy
    • We believe that skilled and passionate school leadership is the key to educational equality and school transformation.
    • Transforming school leadership is one of CMSD’s key reform strategies. Strong instructional leaders in every school will help deliver on our mission to prepare every child for college and a career.
    • CMSD’s Aspiring Principal Program seeks visionary, entrepreneurial, passionate leaders who are eager to assume principal roles and dramatically increase outcomes and opportunities for CMSD students, families, and schools.
    • The CMSD, in partnership with the NYC Leadership Academy, has designed an innovative, standards-based Aspiring Principal Program that will prepare future principals to transform under-performing schools in Cleveland. A small, very selective cohort will advance their skills in change management and instructional leadership through intensive experiential and problem-based learning over 12 months.
    • Cohort 7 is open internal Assistant Principals and Curriculum Instruction Specialists only. We anticipate this format will remain for Cohort 8.
    • The Aspiring Principals Program has an 83% success rate of hiring school leaders in CMSD.



    The CMSD Aspiring Principals Program (APP) has three distinct phases.

    Phase one:
    A five-week Summer Intensive engages participants in a standards-based curriculum that simulates the actual challenges of a Cleveland Metropolitan School District principal.

    Phase two:
    Participants serve an eleven-month, school-based residency under the mentorship of an experienced CMSD principal.

    Phase three:
    Participants spend the summer transitioning successfully into school leadership positions. New principals are supported by a coach during their first year.  

    • It’s innovative. The program is uniquely focused on preparing transformational leaders for urban schools. Participants have the opportunity to make an immediate impact during a year-long residency.
    • It’s rigorous. Participants are held to the highest standards for selection and performance. High expectations are coupled with ongoing assessment and individualized support.
    • It’s practical and comprehensive. Participants develop high-level skills through experiential and integrated learning grounded in transformational and instructional leadership. 
    • It’s collaborative. Participants develop rich, enduring professional relationships with other future school leaders in their small, select cohort, while also building strong relationships with mentor principals and coaches.
    • It’s reflective. Participants become reflective about their personal leadership and consistently seek feedback in order to grow and have impact.
    • Have an Ohio Principal License or eligible to obtain an Ohio Alternative Principal License
    • Five-year service commitment to CMSD (includes Residency year)

    APP participants are evaluated on a pass-fail basis. They must meet rigorous performance standards to progress to each successive program phase. Graduates commit to serving the CMSD public schools for a minimum of five years. The program is led by principals and principal supervisors trained in our unique, hands-on approach to school leadership development.

    For more information about the Aspiring Principals Program, please email Heather Grant, Executive Director of Talent Development, Heather.Grant@clevelandmetroschools.org 



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