Congratulations to Dr. Kimberly Kappler-Hewitt and the Principal Preparation for Excellence and Equity in Rural Schools (PPEERS) team for receiving an award of $1.6 million from NC Alliance for School Leadership Development (NCASLD). Dr. Kappler-Hewitt, faculty member in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC), is the principal investigator for the grant. Dr. Carl Lashley, ELC associate professor, is the co-principal investigator.
PPEERS is a partnership with regional rural districts and UNC Greensboro. The partnership aims to develop strong, sustainable leadership pipelines within these districts; PPEERS prepares and licenses new principals for high-needs, rural schools through an enriched and fully-funded Master of School Administration (MSA) two-year degree program.
“In partnership with rural districts, we have developed a rigorous, relevant leadership preparation program that connects theory to practice,” Dr. Kappler-Hewitt says. “We center instructional, cultural, and change leadership, grounded in the unwavering pursuit of equity and social justice. It is through the synergy of the experience and expertise of our partners that our program is thriving.”
This project is supported by funds from the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority. The recent NCASLD award is a continuation of funding, which is a testimony to the impact that PPEERS has made since its founding four years ago. The first cohort of principals began their training in the December of 2016.
“It is an honor to work with the impressive students who are admitted to the program,” Dr. Kappler-Hewitt says. “They are the future and the change we need in education.”
Rural schools face disadvantages when recruiting prospective principals, and rural schools receive significantly fewer applications than larger districts (Pjanowski, Hewitt, & Brady, 2009). With the challenges rural districts face in recruiting and retaining principals expected to grow more acute in coming decades (Cruzeiro & Boon, 2009), the development of rural principal pipelines is imperative (Wood, Find, and Mirecki, 2013).
Drawing on this research, PPEERS involves a partnership amongst 11 rural districts that struggle to find and keep effective principals for high-needs schools, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s (UNCG) Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations. The partnership aims to develop strong, sustainable leadership pipelines within these districts. PPEERS 3 (2020-2022) will prepare and license 20 new principals for high-needs, rural schools.
Learn more about PPEERS in the articles below.