Aspiring Principals’ Academy & Aspiring Principals’ Residency

The Aspiring Principals’ Academy is a rigorous program intended for the development of assistant principals. Our aim is to develop leaders ready to step into any role, including in our most complex settings.  To that end, we especially seek candidates excited and driven to lead skills preparing them for Comprehensive High Schools and Neighborhood K-8 schools.  Academy scholars engage in an exhaustive curriculum that is grounded in the School District of Philadelphia’s Leadership Pathway Frameworks. These frameworks clearly define the behaviors and habits of a highly skilled and competent school district principal. Scholars explore, unpack, and undergo a deep reflection process as they internalize and develop the necessary skills and mindsets required to be an effective principal for the School District of Philadelphia.

All content in the Aspiring Principals’ Academy  will be approached with an equity lens. Our two thematic guiding questions are:

  1. What is the impact on our most marginalized students?
  2. As leaders how do we center the experiences of our most marginalized students in both our learning and our leadership approach?


In the 2021-2022 school-year the Leadership Development Office launched a full-time residency program pilot as part of the Aspiring Principal Academy for a small sub group of Assistant Principals.  Assistant Principal residents were placed at new school sites for the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, where they work closely with a mentor school principal to support their principal readiness and gain additional school experience.

The Deputy Chief of Leadership Development will serve as the Assistant Principals’ direct manager and will meet with residents monthly to ensure their learning and growth is progressing. In addition to all of the Aspiring Principals Academy program components the sub group of Assistant Principals will receive more intensive coaching and attend additional learning opportunities throughout the year, outside of the APA program. While the intention is to remain at the new school site for the duration of the year, based on the need of the resident, a change in placement may occur during the year. Residents are expected to execute on the expectations listed below.

All residents will be assigned a leadership coach for the duration of the year.

Based on the resident’s leadership coaching plan, school based requirements will be agreed upon between the principal resident, mentor principal, and leadership coach to support the development of the resident.

Prior to winter break, the Office of Leadership Development will support a 360-degree feedback process that includes gathering feedback from various community stakeholders, identified by the resident, to support a mid-year self-assessment of the leader’s learning plan.

Residents will collaborate with peers monthly to reflect on their personal leadership practice, and enrich their own understanding and knowledge of key leadership competencies.

Residents will participate in monthly professional development throughout the year, aligned to the District’s LPF.

The Resident will create a year-long portfolio to document their experience and tell the story of their development over time.