Skip to main content

WCU Stories

Principal preparation program receives $4.1 million grant

Western Carolina University is a recipient of a recurring grant from the North Carolina Principal Fellows Program that will provide $4.1 million over the next six years, the University of North Carolina System recently announced.

The grant will help WCU’s North Carolina School Executive Leadership Program prepare effective principals to meet the demands of public education and administration, and to equip top tier candidates for school leadership who positively affect student learning in North Carolina.

“These annual recurring grants will be vital for our universities to help train exceptional candidates to one day become school principals,” said Andrew Kelly, UNC System senior vice president of strategy and policy. “The UNC System is proud to partner with NCPFP and would like to thank them for their continued support of education leadership training throughout the system.”

In 2015, the General Assembly established this competitive grant program to elevate educators in public schools by transforming the preparation of principals across the state. The North Carolina Principal Fellows Program is currently producing about 40 percent of the state’s educational leadership demand.

“We are proud to continue participating in this program,” said Kim Winter, dean of WCU’s  College of Education and Allied Professions. “Supporting the growth of a strong pipeline of principals who are able to lead teaching and learning in today’s schools is important work. The principal’s leadership is a critical factor in a school’s success and preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success.”

WCU’s North Carolina School Executive Leadership Program is recognized statewide for preparing educators to become school principals who strengthen the quality of educational leadership in public schools through a unique opportunity of insight, experience and innovation, said Heidi Von Dohlen, WCU program director.

“We will use these grant funds, starting in 2022, to train aspiring school leaders to be equity-oriented and to use improvement science methods, as they lead positive change to improve the educational outcomes of historically marginalized students,” she said.

For information, contact Kim Wood, grant coordinator at

Office of Web Services