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Achieving Excellence: Leadership Development for Principals

Achieving Excellence: Leadership Development for Principals

The Achieving Excellence: Leadership Development for Principals institute at Harvard University provides you the opportunity to strengthen your leadership and management skills and revitalize your personal vision of leadership. Participants will learn new methods for improving individual, group, and organizational performance.

By the end of the program, you will understand how to:

  • Examine leadership frameworks and develop skills for leading highly effective schools and teams
  • Learn specific strategies for fostering a positive school culture, valuing diversity, and communicating effectively with constituents
  • Deepen your understanding of the instructional core and how to best support and grow teacher talent
  • Explore the science of trauma and resilience and how to create a school environment that supports both the students and the adults
  • Grow your understanding of the powerful role families and communities play in education and how to engage them in the work

Please note that applicants who apply directly to The Principals’ Center, Harvard Graduate School of Education will not be eligible for funding from the Charles Butt Foundation. Charles Butt Foundation applicants must complete the application below and do not need to complete an additional application to The Principals’ Center on the Harvard website.

Raising School Leaders - Harvard's Achieving Excellence: Leadership Development for Principals. Dr. Katherine K. Merseth speaks at the front of the class.

Application and selection is a five-step process:

  1. Online Application: The first step of the application process is to complete the full online application process by 12:00 p.m. (noon) CST on March 15, 2024.
  2. Application Review and Interview Selection: Applications will be reviewed and interview finalists selected by March 26, 2024.
  3. Interview Process: Interview finalists are required to participate in a video interview process that begins April 1, 2024.
  4. Final Cohort Selection: All selected finalists will be notified by April 16, 2024.
  5. Attendee Confirmation: Attendees must submit a signed letter of agreement by May 1, 2024.

Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible, applicants must be current Texas public school head principals who intend to remain a principal or district leader in a Texas public school in the 2024-25 school year. A change in role after you are selected and before you attend the Institute may result in forfeiture of your sponsorship.

For the 2024 institute, we are selecting up to 30 principals who serve in rural schools, rural districts, and/or school districts with 5,500 students or less.

We will be giving preference to applicants who have not been sponsored by the Charles Butt Foundation or Raise Your Hand Texas to attend Harvard in the past and/or have not participated in the Holdsworth Leadership Collaborative.

Expectations of Attendees

If selected for the Charles Butt Foundation Leadership Program, we ask that participants:

Before Harvard
  • Identify a campus-level and individual problem of practice
  • Develop goals for summer learning
  • Communicate with the Charles Butt Foundation on program deadlines, travel, and other logistics
  • Submit campus plans to the Charles Butt Foundation
  • Sign a letter of agreement certifying that you agree to the terms of the partnership
During Harvard
  • Attend all classes at Harvard during the selected course
  • Participate in all Harvard activities and complete all assignments
  • Participate in all Charles Butt Foundation events
  • Construct and submit a prospectus to the Charles Butt Foundation explaining your plan for applying your summer learning to address your problem of practice
  • Submit related campus documents as requested
  • Make revisions to your plan and keep the Charles Butt Foundation updated on progress throughout the year
  • Present an overview of summer learning to principal colleagues in your district/charter and to your district/charter administration, and invite Charles Butt Foundation staff
  • Participate in monthly check-ins
  • If requested, grant the Charles Butt Foundation access to your campus data for internal program evaluation
  • Serve as a mentor for a Charles Butt Scholar

Apply to Attend

The Charles Butt Foundation is sponsoring individual principals serving Texas public schools to attend the Achieving Excellence: Leadership Development for Principals Institute. Sponsoring includes tuition, airfare, hotel accommodations, and a stipend. The 2023 session will be held from July 14, 2024 to July 19, 2024 with travel to Boston on July 13 and return from Boston on July 19.

Application Instructions

  1. After selecting the “APPLY NOW” button, there are three tasks that you must complete to submit your application.
    • Create a login and password to begin the application.
    • After logging into your account, select the first task in the application labeled, Achieving Excellence: Leadership Development for Principals.
    • Fill out all the necessary fields, and select the “MARK AS COMPLETE” button to move on to the essay questions.
  2. You must answer the essay question individually before moving on to the next stage of the application process.
    • Write an essay that identifies a campus-level problem and explains why you think this institute will help you address this problem. Maximum 500 words. Questions to consider:
      • What is the problem?
      • What data are you using to validate that this is a problem?
      • What is the root cause of this problem?
      • What impact does the problem have on teaching and learning across the campus?
      • What systems and processes must improve to address this problem?
      • What barriers will you face when addressing this problem?
      • What leadership traits and characteristics will you use to address this problem?
    • Once you have submitted your essay, you must select the “MARK AS COMPLETE” button, and move to the final stage of the application.
  3. To complete the final stage of the application process you must upload a copy of your cover letter, resume, and your 2022-2023 campus TAPR and select the “MARK AS COMPLETE” button.
  4. When all three tasks are complete, select the “SUBMIT” button.
  5. If everything looks correct, select the “SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION” button.

If selected as a finalist, you must agree to the terms in the letter of agreement.
Please review the terms of the 2024 Letter of Agreement closely before applying.

Program contact information:

Tim Miller - Contact Card

Tim Miller

Director of Leadership Development

Check out our other statewide programs