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School Executive Leadership Academy

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The School Executive Leadership Academy (SELA) is a partnership of the McColl School of Business, the Cato School of Education and Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools and surrounding districts, to accelerate the flow of qualified leaders for our schools. This program has been approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education. It is unique in several ways. It combines the expertise of the school of business in developing leaders with the school of education's and the school districts' expertise in education. Unlike traditional masters in school administration programs, the SELA curriculum will be highly experiential and relevant, placing participants in a variety of situations built around a simulated school, designed to replicate the real challenges a school principal faces. It will combine a rigorous selection process, an intensive summer cohort experience with the simulated school, and a residency year spent as a fulltime intern to a trained mentor principal. During the residency year and the first year on the job as a principal, we will continue to provide group and individual coaching sessions and classes to extend the support as the novice principal transitions into the job. Successful SELA participants can earn up to 18 credit hours that may apply toward a Master of School Administration, Master of Business Administration, or Master of Science in Organization Development degree - all available at Queens University of Charlotte. 

Key Features of the Program:

  • Experiential learning - case studies, role plays, simulations and other exercises mirroring situations faced as school executives and residency year filled with on the job school executive experiences 
  • A cohort experience - creation of a learning community and support network for participants during the program and throughout their careers
  • School administration license and graduate credit -eligibility to receive the NC school administration license and have waived Queens graduate credit hours towards a Master of School Administration, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Organization Development, or Master of Science in Executive Coaching degree
  • Highly selective admissions - 5 stages in competitive, rigorous recruitment and selection process: (1) Nomination by the district; (2) Application, transcripts and essays; (3) In-Depth Assessment Center with experiential exercises and trained assessors; (4) References and final selection; (5) Offer to join cohort
  • Coaching and support throughout -mentor principal support, small-group coaching during the residency year, and access to 8 targeted individual coaching sessions in first year on the job as a school leader

Program Structure and Sequence:

  • Late Winter/Early Spring: selection through a highly competitive process
  • 1st Summer: classes 5 days a week for 5 weeks
  • School Year: year-long residency in leadership roles and participation learning sessions 
  • 2nd Summer: preparation for leadership assignment 
  • After the 14 Months: access to coaching sessions during your first year in a leadership role and various leadership seminars on the Queens campus

Employer Testimonial:

"I have been a principal in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for a long, long time. This is the beginning of my 28th year, and I often worry aloud about the future of our schools in a climate that is much more difficult to navigate than the schools of earlier times.

But this summer my experience working with an intern I recommended for the SELA program at Queens has rekindled my excitement about the future of our schools. We have quality decision makers coming to us out of this program.  The ability of these men and women to transform a challenging environment due to the incredible leadership skills they are gaining will change our part of the world one school at a time.

As we go through the "opening of school" process, our intern has asked the right questions, listened intently to her colleagues, made impactful observations, and has brought thoughtful issues to the table for collaborative consideration.

In fact, I am so impressed with what I have observed about the 'Queens' Experience,' I am completing my own application to attend a Queens' graduate program!

Keep up the good work, Queens University! Your graduates are making a powerful impact on our communities and this gives those of us who have been in the business for quite some time, great hope for the future."

-Diane Adams
Principal, Providence Spring Elementary School, a CMS school

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