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NC State Wins National Award for Preparing Rural School Leaders

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A North Carolina State University program to train leaders for rural schools in northeastern North Carolina will be honored Nov. 20 with a national award for effectiveness – one of only two programs to receive the distinction.
The Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA) is a rigorous two-year program that prepares principals and assistant principals to work as turnaround specialists in 14 high-need districts in northeastern North Carolina.
The University Council for Educational Administration will recognize NELA with an Exemplary Educational Leadership Program Award during an event in Washington, D.C.
News of the award came just days after NELA received an additional $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through its Turnaround School Leaders Program. NELA also received a $4.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2013 to expand its reach.
“NC State is committed to serving the needs of North Carolina’s rural schools, which educate almost half of the state’s students,” says NC State education professor Bonnie Fusarelli, who directs the program. “NELA is based on research that demonstrates how school leaders retain effective teachers and create a school culture of achievement.”
To prepare for the challenge of leading schools with limited access to resources and training, NELA graduates complete a yearlong internship and work with a community agency. They earn a master’s degree in school administration and commit to take a leadership position in one of the participating counties for three years after completing the program. Training includes a summer institute and mentoring from executive coaches. The first-year placement rate for NELA is more than twice the national average, Fusarelli says.
NELA, which began in 2010, serves the following districts: Bertie, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Hertford, Martin, Nash-Rocky Mount, Northampton, Roanoke Rapids, Vance, Warren, Washington and Weldon City.
For more information about NELA, visit: go.ncsu.edu/nela2.0.