Teaching, College Access & Leadership

Achievement First Achievement First


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Start Date: June, 2019
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Leading at Achievement First: Overview of the Achievement First Principal-in-Residence Program 
The principal-in-residence program is typically a one to two-year program that supports future school leaders in their development as they prepare to become a principal.  Principals-in-residence have leader positions at AF schools where they learn from talented mentor principals, and also participate in a network-wide cohort that gathers for skill-building, excellent school visits and best practice sharing throughout the year. 

The program is grounded in several core beliefs:

  • School leaders learn best by doing the work of leading schools. For most of the residency, the principal-in-residence works as an essential member of the leadership team as a dean of students and culture or academic dean in a host Achievement First school. The principal-in-residence has clear and significant responsibilities for both instructional and school culture leadership in his/her host school.  
  • School leaders learn best through mentoring and feedback in the context of their everyday work.  The principal and regional superintendent of the host school mentors the principal-in-residence and the residency centers around these relationships and model of support.  These coaches provide regular support to the principal-in-residence as they navigate the many challenges of leading a school.  Principals-in-residence receive intense individualized attention through coaching and real-time feedback.  
  • School leaders must be strong instructional leaders and people leaders.  The skill building we do over the course of the residency focuses on instructional leadership, such as the observation/feedback cycle and leading adult PD, as well as people leadership skills such as engaging in difficult conversations or creating diverse and inclusive communities.
  • School leaders will be prepared for running a school when they invest significant time in the details of getting their school ready.  During the second year of the program, the residency provides intensive cohort and individual support to principals-in-residence for getting their future schools ready.  Principals-in-residence engage directly with their regional superintendent and other senior network leaders to create plans for different aspects of their schools.  Time set aside for this purpose increases gradually throughout the year.  By the end of April, principals-in-residence are focused full-time on preparing for the upcoming school year.  Most principals-in-residence will spend May and June preparing for their schools to be ready for the upcoming school year. 
  • Principals-in-residence also attend the National Principal Academy Fellowship through the Relay Graduate School of Education.  Typically during the first year of the residency, principals-in-residence attend the year-long fellowship in this nationally recognized program.  The program is focused on building instructional leadership skills and the cost of the program is covered entirely by Achievement First. 

Phases of the Principal-in-Residence Program:
Phase One:  Academic Year of 2019-20
  • Attend new staff trainings.
  • Attend the National Principal Academy Fellowship
  • Work as an essential member of a school leadership team.
  • Participate in a 360 feedback process and reflection.
  • Align on goals for the year with host principal, regional superintendent and the director of principal preparation.
  • Clarify school roles and responsibilities so that you are both making a big impact on the placement school and targeting your own growth areas.
  • Create an individualized learning plan and receive targeted coaching from mentor principal and director of principal preparation.
  • Build essential leadership mindsets and skills through principal-in-residence cohort workshops and excellence school visits
  • Assess progress on your leadership effectiveness at checkpoints throughout the year

Phase Two: Academic Year of 2020-21 August – April
  • Work as an essential member of a school leadership team.
  • With the support of the Principal-in-Residence cohort and regional superintendents, plan the core practices of your future school over the course of the year  
  • Meet regularly with your regional superintendent for targeted leadership coaching 
  • Work with Team Recruit to recruit a top-notch team of deans and teachers.

Phase Three:  Academic Year of 2020-21 April – July 
  • Work intensely with regional superintendent to finalize and execute on a comprehensive school readiness plan.
  • Lead school events such as family chats and orientations.
  • Prepare for onboarding your team

Skills and Characteristics
  • Strong instructional, classroom management and discipline skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Proven track record of meeting extremely high standards for student achievement
  • Relentlessness and willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure success
  • Team player
  • Willingness to aggressively seek administrative certification 
  • Belief in the Achievement First mission and educational model
  • Maturity, humility, strong work ethic, sense of humor, and “roll-up-my-sleeves” attitude
Educational Background and Work Experience
  • A bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 from a competitive college or university is highly preferred, a master’s degree is preferred.
  • Successful experience leading adults
  • Four years of urban teaching experience with a track record of high student achievement  
  • If not currently certified, a commitment to obtaining necessary New York certification is required.

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