Florida Principals Graduate from Prestigious Executive Development Program

October 28, 2016

Florida principals graduate from prestigious Executive Development Program in a multi-state effort to improve the leadership of America's schools

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This week, principals from across Florida graduated from the National Institute for School Leadership’s (NISL) Executive Development Program (EDP) as part of a multistate effort to increase school leader effectiveness and improve student learning.  Schools led by principals from participating districts enroll nearly 750,000 students, about 27 percent of total statewide PK-12 enrollment.

“Identifying, developing and supporting school leaders is one of the most powerful educational investments we can make,” said NISL CEO Jason Dougal. “Great school leaders create environments where their school and their students can thrive. This effort, and our work at NISL generally, is focused on ensuring that principals have the tools to make that happen.”

NISL’s EDP is now the most widely used, school leadership development program in the country with some 10,000 school leaders trained across 27 states. Multiple research studies have shown that students in schools led by NISL-trained leaders outperformed their peers on state tests in both mathematics and reading. Because of this track record of success, the U.S. Department of Education selected NISL’s EDP for a “gold standard” study of implementation across multiple states.

The $12 million U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) validation grant, along with funds from the Wallace Foundation, is enabling some 900 principals from California, Florida and Mississippi to enroll in NISL’s fifteen-month program. The i3 grant to NISL—a program of the National Center on Education and the Economy—is supporting principals in districts serving large percentages of economically disadvantaged students. NISL will impact the learning of 50 percent of all students reached by the U.S. Department of Education’s i3 grants in its award year.

Participating school districts include: Pinellas, Lee, Citrus, Charlotte, Manatee, Pasco, Hernando, Martin, Columbia, Orange, Osceola, and Lake.

“School leaders need growth opportunities and development, not only in their first years, but throughout their careers,” said Osceola School District Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace. “Working with NISL gives our principals strong, research-based tools to be the best leaders they can be and ensure that our schools continue to drive toward equity and high achievement.”

NISL’s work under the i3 grant is allowing Florida schools to benefit from this proven program at a sweeping scale, under a uniquely sustainable model.  In addition to participating in NISL’s EDP and on-site coaching that many principals are receiving during their training, leaders in all three states are being trained to deliver the NISL program to build local capacity to strengthen school leadership statewide for years to come.

A team led by Johns Hopkins University, using a random-assignment research design, will assess the impact of the three-state effort on principals, teachers and students. The evaluation conducted by the Hopkins research team will be one of the largest such education studies ever conducted.

Just over 90 percent of the funds for the NISL validation project come from the federal government with an additional nine percent, or $1.2 million, coming from private sources. The i3 competition requires all grantees to secure private-sector matching funds. The Wallace Foundation is providing the funding necessary to meet this requirement for the NISL i3 grant.

Reporters who would like a full list of participating principals or who are interested in speaking with NISL CEO Jason Dougal may contact Brendan Williams-Kief, Director of Communications at 202-905-6284 or by email at bwilliamskief@ncee.org.


The National Institute for School Leadership provides research-proven leadership programs for educators using the best practices in adult learning from a variety of fields, including education, the military, business, law, and medicine. NISL builds the capacity of districts and states to provide education leaders with the critical knowledge and skills they need to be instructional leaders and improve student achievement in their schools.  NISL is a program of the National Center on Education and the Economy. Visit NISL at www.NISL.org.

The National Center on Education and the Economy was created in 1988 to analyze the implications of changes in the international economy for American education, formulate an agenda for American education based on that analysis and seek wherever possible to accomplish that agenda through policy change and development of the resources educators would need to carry it out.  Follow NCEE on Twitter @CtrEdEcon and on Facebook.