Special to Iredell Free News

Two Iredell-Statesville Schools principals recently completed the Distinguished Leadership in Practice Program, a year-long leadership development program for practicing school principals designed and provided by the N.C. Principals and Assistant Principal’s Association (NCPAPA) and sponsored by the N.C. Alliance for School Leadership Development.

Tonya Houpe
Jonathan Nicastro

Jonathan Nicastro, principal of N.B. Mills Elementary, and Tonya Houpe, principal of East Iredell Middle School, completed the program, which was offered in a virtual setting this year. Principals in all eight regions of the state participated.

The Distinguished Leadership in Practice Program (DLP) uses a non-traditional professional development model that is aligned to the performance evaluation standards adopted by the State Board of Education for North Carolina’s school leaders. This unique cohort-based program is designed to limit principals’ time away from their schools by allowing them to attend synchronous sessions once every other month while accessing online assignments, materials and coaching in between sessions.

Principals engage in a series of authentic activities throughout the year-long experience that are designed to build the capacity of their schools and their own capacity as “Distinguished” school leaders.

“The leadership of the school principal is by far one of the most important factors in school quality. By completing this very rigorous program, our DLP graduates have demonstrated their commitment to continuous improvement by working to improve their leadership skills as they simultaneously improve their schools. We are proud to include them in the ranks of successful DLP completers,” said Shirley Prince, NCPAPA executive director.

The N.C. Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association, in existence since 1976, is the preeminent professional development organization and state voice for principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders. NCPAPA represents 5,000-plus members from across the state and serves as the state’s principal affiliate of the N.C. Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP.)

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