School Executive Leadership Academy | Queens University of Charlotte

School Executive Leadership Academy

Developing leaders. Transforming education.


The School Executive Leadership Academy (SELA) partners Queens McColl School of Business, Queens Cato School of Education and local 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 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 master's in school administration programs, the SELA curriculum is highly experiential and relevant, placing participants in a variety of situations built around a simulated school. It is designed to replicate the real challenges a school principal faces. It combines a rigorous selection process, an intensive summer cohort experience with the simulated school, and a residency year spent as a full-time intern to a trained mentor principal.

During the residency year and the first year on the job as a principal, SELA will continue to provide group and individual coaching sessions and classes to extend 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 Educational Leadership (online), Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Talent & 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.

Program Structure and Sequence

  • Late Winter/Early Spring: selection through a highly competitive process
  • First Summer: classes five days a week for five weeks
  • School Year: year-long residency in leadership roles and participation learning sessions 
  • Second Summer: preparation for leadership assignment

Nominate a Leader

To nominate a colleague, complete the Nomination Form.

Apply Now

To apply to the SELA program, complete the SELA Application Form.


To make a payment visit our NetCommunity payment page.

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Ready to develop your leadership in education? Contact Alison Hiltz at

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