OCPS clearly recognizes that the principal plays the most critical role as the instructional leader at a school, with the top priority of developing a team who will deliver effective, high-quality instruction. Implementing and improving quality instruction and curriculum while hiring the very best teachers and staff must be an ongoing process for a school to progress and achieve excellence. 

The Preparing New Principal Academy (PNPA) has been designed to help leaders, aspiring to become a principal, acquire the skills and demonstrate competency of the standards in order to become a successful instructional school leader. The program is comprised of leadership training and the documentation of the Florida Principal Leadership Standards through competency based experiences and activities. 

As part of the OCPS Leadership Pathways, PNPA aims to develop “Level 5” leaders. A Level 5 leader refers to the highest level of leadership in the hierarchy of an executive. A person with fierce, even stoic resolve toward life; an iron will to succeed. This is an executive whom genuine personal humility blends with intense professional will. Executives who possess this paradoxical combination of traits are catalysts for the statistically rare event of transforming a good organization into a great one and having the capacity to sustain excellence. This leader recognizes how essential the organization’s success will depend on getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) to create a culture of discipline and distinction.


Participants of the PNPA (referred to in the program as “principal candidate”) will participate in a rigorous program designed to include high-quality training and authentic experiences to prepare for the principal role. It is the expectation of the district, that all newly appointed assistant principals and assistant directors, who work in technical centers, participate in the PNPA even if they don’t aspire to a principal position. Since all administrators are instructional leaders in our district, PNPA helps participants acquire the necessary skills to become proficient school-based leaders. In addition, district senior administrators and directors, who hold state certification in educational leadership, are given the opportunity to apply to a cohort, pending their supervisor’s approval. All participants in the PNPA will receive training and experiences to prepare for the principal role. Participants will be evaluated by a support team each year to determine competency and provide differentiated professional development to meet each participant’s needs. After PNPA completion, the candidate may be approved to seek principal certification.