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Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What kind of applicants are you looking for?
    We seek diverse candidates from inside and outside of MPS who have:
    • A firm belief that all children can and must excel academically
    • A relentless drive to transform an underperforming school
    • An urgent desire to lead change focused on dramatically improved student outcomes
    • A desire to be challenged and a track record of resilience in the face of challenges
    • Instructional expertise and demonstrated student achievement results
    • A commitment to high expectations and constant learning for themselves and others
    • Results effectively leading and empowering adults
    • A commitment to and success with engaging and building relationships with diverse stakeholders to inspire excellence
  2. What curriculum will the Academy use, and how will participants be assessed?
    The curriculum is modeled after New York Leadership Academy’s nationally-recognized aspiring principal program and is grounded in best practices in principal preparation and adult learning.  The curriculum has been customized to meet the needs of MPS and to align with Minnesota state principal competencies.  Academy participants are regularly assessed by their program facilitators and mentor principals.  Participants who successfully complete the program must pass a final panel interview the higher education institution chosen to partner with MPS in order to be recommended to the State for principal licensure.

  3. How does this program align with the district’s priorities?
    One of MPS’ strategic priorities is “transforming school leadership.”  The district is committed to hiring the very best candidates for principal positions and ensuring that we have the strongest pool to choose from.  The goals of the Aspiring Transformational Principal Academy include:
    1. Rigorously preparing aspiring principals to transform urban schools 
    2. Bringing more great talent into the pipeline for principal positions 
  4. What makes the Academy rigorous?
    The Academy has a highly selective admissions process (including a paper application with essays and letters of recommendation, a group interview, a classroom observation, and an individual interview).  Over 12 months, participants complete a 4-week summer intensive, a school-year residency (with weekly professional seminars), and participation with our university partner in classes designed to prepare candidates to meet all state requirements for licensure.  Altogether, the number of class hours and field experience hours in this program exceed the state requirements and those offered in most existing principal licensure programs.  Participants are accountable for meeting program standards and demonstrating results in their residencies.  They are assessed regularly, and those who do not meet expectations can be dismissed from the program.

  5. Is a principal license required for acceptance into the Academy?
    No, through a partnership with our university partner, candidates who successfully complete the Aspiring Transformational Principal Academy will be eligible for a K-12 principal license in the state of Minnesota.

  6. What role will the university partner play in the Academy?
    The university will ensure that the Academy meets all state requirements for licensure, facilitate the final panel interview to evaluate participants’ mastery of state standards, and recommend graduates for principal licensure.  Additionally, the university will be involved in program evaluation and improvement.  It may also support selection and training of Academy staff and participants, as well as development and delivery of curriculum.
  7. Will participants get paid while they are in the Academy?
    Participants will receive a salary and benefits while in the Academy.  They will also be eligible for a principal license upon successful completion of the program.

  8. How many people will be in the Academy?
    Several factors influence the number of participants accepted into the Academy.  The size will be large enough to benefit from the cohort structure, but will not exceed the typical number of principal openings in the district.  Since participants receive a salary and benefits while in the Academy, there are some financial constraints on the size of the cohort.  Finally, the bar for selection into the Academy is very high.  Considering all of these factors, the cohort will likely be between 4 and 6 people.

  9. Will graduates be guaranteed jobs as principals?
    Graduates of the Academy will have to apply for open principal positions and participate in the district’s full principal hiring process. If hired, they will make a 3 year service commitment to work in MPS.

  10. How will the Academy be funded?
    For 2016-17 the Academy will be funded through a Turnaround School Leadership Grant awarded to MPS as well as MPS general funds. We are exploring options for continued funding to grow and sustain the program in the future.

  11. How is this program different than MPS’ previous Principals’ Academy?
    The new Academy replicates many of the strengths that a focus group identified in the district’s previous Principals’ Academy.  It is cohort-based, will evolve over time, and reflects MPS’ deep commitment to school leadership.  Some characteristics that are unique to the new Academy include:
    • The focus on transformational leadership
    • The full-time, 12 month structure (including a year-long residency at a school)
    • The small cohort size (4-6 participants) 
    • Eligibility for a principal’s license through successful completion of the program
  12. I don't have a master's degree or 30 credits beyond a bachelor's degree.  Could I still be eligible for the Academy?
    We want all successful graduates of the Academy to be eligible for a MN K-12 principal license.  The state requires 60 credits beyond a bachelor's degree for licensure.  Through the Academy, participants will earn 30 credits.  If an interested applicant has close to 30 credits by July 2016, it might be possible to earn the remaining additional credits will participating in the Academy.  However, earning many additional credits while participating in the Academy will not be manageable, as the Academy will be very intense.

  13. I already have a principal license.  Can I still apply?
    We want to attract the best and most diverse candidates to the Academy.  If you already have a principal license, you can still apply.  The Academy will be a rich opportunity to continue your professional development and prepare to become a transformational principal.   A license is not required for acceptance into the program, however.  MPS’ partnership with an accredited university allows successful graduates of the Academy to be eligible for a K-12 MN principal license. Regardless of licensure status, all participants must complete all stages and requirements of the program