Governor's School Leadership Academy - Aspiring Principal Program

Program Description

Through a partnership between the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), Gwinnett County Public Schools, and other university and RESA partners throughout Georgia, the Governor’s School Leadership Academy (GSLA) Aspiring Principal Program is designed to identify, prepare, and support school leaders as they move toward becoming transformational principals.

Aspiring principals from across Georgia join in a rich cohort-based experience that supports their development during the 2022-2023 academic year and beyond. Designed for educators who are ready to take on new leadership challenges, the GSLA Aspiring Principal Program provides context and skill development for the challenges that a principal would face in the first year of practice. As a member of a cohort with other leaders who are also working to transform their schools in their current roles while aspiring to new roles, participants will further develop their leadership strengths while expanding their network of support. Ultimately, the goal of the GSLA Aspiring Principal Program is to increase the success of first-year principals in Georgia and by doing so, impact the students and communities they serve.

Learning Outcomes 

By the end of the yearlong cohort experience, participating aspiring principals will be able to develop and refine essential leadership competencies and skills to improve student outcomes in their current schools and be prepared to move into a principalship within the next three school years.

In order to accomplish this goal, participants will need to:

  • Understand, identify and apply leadership competencies and skills in real-world environments;
  • Develop, implement, monitor, and adjust plans, structures, and systems to address a significant school-level challenges based on data to improve student outcomes by
  • Understand, identify and apply knowledge of strengths (Gallup)
  • Participate fully in all components of the cohort experience

Program Expectations

Participate fully in all components of the cohort experience including:

  • Two-day in-person group training session to build key relationships with fellow leaders in the GSLA cohort and begin critical coursework that frames the year-long learning experience (The training will be held at the local RESA)
  • A combination of monthly virtual and in-person meetings (In-person cohort sessions will be held regionally based on the make-up of the cohort.)
  • Job-embedded leadership simulations and activities designed to develop skills in real-world applications
  • One-on-one or group coaching with a leadership coach throughout the year to maximize strengths
  • Transferrable hours to a degree or certificate seeking program**

** Partnerships between the GSLA, universities, and RESAs are in continual development, and participants will be made aware of all options for shared or transferrable credit at the beginning of each cohort.

Criteria for Acceptance

To participate in the GSLA aspiring principal program, applicants must:

  • Work in a district currently partnering with a GSLA affiliated RESA.
  • Currently serve in a role as an assistant principal, instructional coach, counselor, district support, or teacher leader in your district.
  • Aspirations to move into the principalship within the next 1-5 years.
  • Possess foundational knowledge of school leadership with coinciding experiences that are expressed in the application and interview process.

What do previous participants say about the GSLA Aspiring Principal Program?

“Participating in the GSLA has been an irreplaceable experience that I would recommend to anyone who is seriously considering a move to school administration.”

“You not only learn more about the Principal role, but you develop a better understanding of who you are as a leader as well as build long lasting relationships with colleagues across the state.”

“GSLA has been the most rigorous, relevant, and transformative leadership development program I’ve ever experienced, and I’m looking forward to witnessing how my learning informs my future performance.”


2018/2019 Aspiring Principal Program Cohort

- Download this pdf file. List of 2018/19 Cohort participants












Contact Co-Director, Governor's School Leadership Academy

Kenneth L. Johnson, Jr.