Teach For America Launches 'Lead For Delaware,' New In-State Principal Certification Program

Two-Year, Highly Selective Certification Program Will Train Educational Leaders in Partnership with Harvard University, Wilmington University, and More


Wilmington, Del., December 2, 2015—Today, Teach For America–Delaware announced the launch of their new principal certification program, Lead For Delaware (LFD). Led by Senior Managing Director of School Leadership Jeremy Grant-Skinner, LFD is a two-year, research-based program built in collaboration with Delaware public schools, school and district leaders, and organizations of proven educational expertise such as the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education. Lead For Delaware focuses on developing seven competencies necessary to successful school leadership: personal leadership; interpersonal leadership; diversity, equity, and inclusion; managing people and projects; reasoning and strategic thinking; instructional leadership; and managing operations and systems. Cohort members will complete over 1,000 hours of educational experiences, including an international leadership journey, an online course, a case study fellowship, the Harvard Data Wise Leadership Institute, executive coaching, teacher mentorship, and more, while maintaining their current teaching or administrative positions. Leaders will be evaluated based on competency mastership, school partner reviews, the School Leaders Licensure Assessment, and 13 other metrics. The program intends to certify 25 principals by 2020.

Grant-Skinner highlighted the importance of Lead For Delaware’s collaborative nature, saying, “Lead For Delaware brings together a range of education leaders—from current Delaware principals and leaders from across the country to professors at universities such as Wilmington University and Harvard—altogether representing hundreds of years of educational leadership experience.” Additional partners include The New Teacher Project (TNTP), Jounce Partners, and Teach For All—Teach For America’s international affiliate organization. “As partners we can deliver a higher-quality, relevant experience for schools in high-need communities, which is why I’m so excited to lead this new program.”

At minimum, candidates must have at least three years of teaching experience, a master’s degree, and a GPA of 3.0 or higher to qualify. The pilot cohort of four includes two school leaders, one dean of curriculum and instruction, and a technology coach who hail from Freire Charter School, Great Oaks Charter School, and Howard High School of Technology. Ashley Sorenson, one of the cohort members and current instructional technology coach at Howard High School of Technology, said, “I look forward to collaborating with other school and teacher leaders in the program, state, and internationally. LFD will empower me to lead and grow while remaining in Delaware and making a greater impact at Howard—both now and in the future.”

Peter Leida, director of schools at the Colonial School District, commented, “This is a great opportunity for us to elevate the quality of our school leaders, as we know that they are the crux of systemic change and increased student outcomes in our schools. Focusing on preparing educators to lead in low socio-economic schools is critical as the stakes for our students from poverty are at an all-time high.”

“Until schools in our low-income communities are excelling, investments in policy and economic development will not move the needle on college- and career- readiness,” said Laurisa Schutt, executive director of Teach For America–Delaware. “Only 8 percent of low-income Delaware students are college-ready based on their SAT scores. As a small state with 130,000 students, 40 percent of who are low-income, we need to see excellence to know that it is possible and to have the conviction to pursue it.”

Lead For Delaware was made possible by investments from Bank of America, Corporation Service Company, Capital One, The Longwood Foundation, Barclaycard US, The Welfare Foundation, the Arsht Cannon Fund, and private individuals devoted to Delaware schools. 

About Teach For America–Delaware
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity.

(215) 688-2482Teach For America–Delaware was founded in 2009, and since its inception has brought over 230 corps members to teach in low-income schools statewide, reaching nearly 10,000 students and making an average gain of 1.6 years of academic growth. Today nearly 100 alumni and 40 corps members call Delaware home, leading schools and contributing to communities through work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Alumni include two principals, two assistant principals, several deans, three Teacher of the Year-award recipients, and founders of two nonprofits that tackle high school readiness and summer learning loss. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit delaware.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.