Principal Academy


Project Goals and Objectives
The mission of the SURN Principal Academy is to build a leadership development program that increases principals’ instructional knowledge and develops mentor principals to sustain the program. The SURN Principal Academy is designed to connect and empower principals to improve their instructional leadership and relationship-building skills. Such professional development will result in high-yield teaching and student learning by:
  • Developing knowledge of effective teaching and learning strategies;
  • Increasing formative feedback that supports teacher reflection, and distributive leadership in professional learning communities;
  • Providing multiyear cohort support for participating principals;
  • Recruiting a cadre of expert, veteran principals to mentor early-career principals; and
  • Disseminating project findings through digital/electronic media and division, regional and state conferences. 

Project Activities

The value of effective teachers and the impact of effective school leadership on student achievement are well-documented in educational literature. Project funds support school leaders in increasing achievement of all students, including students of diverse populations, and invest in classroom instruction to address learning problems. There are two cohorts of participating principals, with ten serving as mentoring coaches. There are several principals from school systems that the Virginia Department of Education classifies as rural. Additionally, there are three assistant superintendents (two of whom are from rural school divisions) who serve on the Principal Academy’s leadership team that meets several times a year with project faculty to assess and plan sessions.

Principal Group

Program activities in past years have included:

  • School of Education-based professional development trainings;
  • School-based intersession activities designed to help principals take away strategies and
  • materials for application in the classroom;
  • Networking;
  • Job-alike meetings in schools to participate in collaborative classroom observations;
  • Follow-up visits by mentors; and
  • Design and presentation of a research project to determine how current classroom practice aligns with high-yield teaching and learning.
2023-2024 Event Dates:
September 21 & November 9, 2023; February 15 & April 18, 2024

Registration Applications:

Year 1 Application Form 
Year 2 Application Form 

Contact [[surn]] for details.


The Principal Academy has traditionally been funded in part by SCHEV's SURN Visible Leaders 2.0, and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.

Note: The SURN Principal Academy is a closed event. Yearly sessions run from July-June. Please email [[surn]] if you have any questions.