The Aspiring Principal Program

  • Two GCPS administrators working on an activity

    The Aspiring Principal Program (APP) was established in 2007 to develop leaders, readying them to lead world-class schools. The purpose of the Aspiring Principal Program (APP) is to recruit, select, develop, and retain principals who will turn the vision of becoming a system of world-class schools into a reality. 

    Through the program, aspiring principals become students again in a customized leadership development program designed to ensure the district has the caliber of principals needed in the future. Gwinnett County Public Schools seeks "quality-plus" leaders who have certain characteristics. They are energetic in pursuing the organization's mission and goals, and they can energize others to do the same. They are results-oriented, and view accountability as a value. These characteristics are grounded in the belief that a A GCPS leader is a champion for all students. They attend to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs through the management and support of people, instruction, and processes. Specifically, a GCPS leader builds a productive culture where he/she engages in instructionally focused interactions with teachers, facilitates collaborative learning communities, promotes a positive relationship with community members, and strategically balances support and accountability. The knowledge, skills, and behaviors of a GCPS leader results in an equitable and culturally responsive school environment where teachers, staff, community members, and students thrive.

    Aspiring principals participate in a year-long instructional program, led by the superintendent and other district leaders, that bridge the gap between theory and practice by:

    • Engaging in a rigorous curriculum led by district leaders that equips aspiring principals with the skills and knowledge they need to increase student engagement and performance
    • Emerging leaders in a year-long learning experience aligned to the core competencies needed to succeed in the principalship
    • Participating in a residency that enables them to apply their learning in a real-world setting with the support of a mentor and/or coach.
    • Practicing and reflecting on the role, responsibilities, and expectations of a GCPS principal through case studies, simulations, performance-based team work, and interactive panels with school leaders.
    • Establishing a professional network of peers through a cohort model that promotes learning and support. 

    Additionally, aspiring principals participate in a principal residency. The residency addresses core leadership skills and behaviors of effective school leaders. The residency experience provides an opportunity to develop and refine those skills that are essential for the principalship.

    • Instructional Leadership
    • Building a Productive School Climate
    • Facilitating Collaboration and Building Leadership Capacity
    • Communication and Meaningful Engagement of School Community
    • Equity and Cultural Responsiveness