By Julia Duvall
Western Carolina University has received $738,072 for the 2023-2024 school year from the NC General Assembly, administered by the North Carolina Principals Fellowship Commission.
WCU is one of eight higher education institutions selected for the North Carolina Principals Fellowship grant that runs from 2022-2028. WCU’s 4.1 million is divided over the span of six years.
“The grant covers tuition, fees and professional development opportunities for our students,” said Heidi Von Dohlen, associate professor of human services at WCU. “We have 29 master’s level students in the school administration program that are Principal Fellows. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to grow strong school leaders to create more equitable outcomes in schools for all students.”
Current educators that are aspiring leaders are identified by their superintendents and are recommended to WCU’s program with the intent to hire them into assistant principal positions upon completion of the fellowship.
“The grant also covers 10-month, fully paid assistant principal internships and executive coaching that does not end once they graduate,” Von Dohlen said. “This speaks to the relationships we have formed for the coaching to extend beyond their time at WCU.”
The program is hybrid with online course work and four Saturday meetings per semester at WCU’s Biltmore Park instructional site in Asheville.
“WCU has high-quality and diverse faculty based on our positionality and career experiences,” Von Dohlen said. “We all know that NC as well as other states are facing a crisis trying to find teachers and administrators. Through this program, we are helping to meet the needs of our region by growing strong school leaders. These aspiring leaders are so enthusiastic and excited about impacting the lives of their students as they lead schools with a focus on equity.”
For more information about the program, contact Von Dohlen at email@example.com.