Graduating the Next Generation of Education Leaders


May 7, 2012— North Carolina State University’s College of Education is graduating the first class of Master of School Administration students to have successfully completed the program through the Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA). The group celebrated this accomplishment last week at the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Governor Beverly Perdue acknowledged the group. “Here are 21 people who had the courage and audacity to say I want to do this, not just I can do this, but I want to this so I can make a difference,” said Gov. Perdue. “What you are going to do is change the fabric, the heart and soul, of eastern North Carolina. I’m counting on you.”

The Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA) is an innovative school leader preparation model designed to develop 21st Century school leaders for rural, high-need schools in Northeast North Carolina. NCSU’s College of Education professors, Bonnie Fusarelli and Matt Militello received initial funding for NELA from a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction. In 2010, NELA received additional funding when North Carolina was awarded the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top award.
Gov. Perdue first met the group when they started this journey two years ago. She promised that upon their graduation she would have them to the mansion to celebrate. During the reception she presented them with a new invitation, “I’m betting in 10 years, I won’t be governor but I’ll be invited back to your 10th anniversary here in the mansion. I’ll bet all of you are located in Northeastern North Carolina in schools where you are making a difference. That’s my bet to you and now your challenge for me is to make that a reality.”

NELA’s aim is to rigorously recruit, select, and prepare (through an authentic problem-solving, hands-on approach), more than 60 future school leaders by August 2014. Upon program completion, NELA Fellows receive principal certification in NC and a Master’s of School Administration degree from NC State. They will also receive early career support and executive coaching when they become school principals.

NELA Fellows made a three-year, post-degree commitment to work in high-need schools in Northeast NC.

This project is housed within the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. Click here for more information on NELA.

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