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Teach For America alumnus, Jason Britt standing outside of a school building in Hawai'i.

In rural regions across the country, there is a strong demand for committed, effective school leaders. The Rural School Leadership Academy is open to all educators who are passionate about rural education and driven toward school leadership roles.

About the Rural School Leadership Academy

Develop the knowledge and skills necessary for school leadership roles, while building a powerful network of aspiring school leaders in rural communities.

The Rural School Leadership Academy is a yearlong fellowship for two streams of aspiring and current school leaders:

  • Stream 1: For classroom teachers who are beginning to explore school leadership roles.
  • Stream 2: For mid-level school-based leaders preparing for school principal roles.

Each program includes:

  • One week and three long weekend in-person gatherings in rural locations across the country (four meetings total). These gatherings focus on professional development sessions delivered by content experts, site visits to rural schools, and cohort-based learning with leaders from across the country.
  • Ongoing virtual engagement that supplements the in-person gatherings
  • A participant-driven capstone project designed to impact participant’s school community

All participant expensestravel, lodging, meals,  and all professional developmentare funded thanks to an Education Innovation Research Grant from the U.S. Department of Education as well as through private funders.

2020-2021 Cohort Gathering Dates 

The following are the tentative dates of in-person gatherings for the 2020-2021 cohort. Final dates, locations, and travel days will be finalized with accepted applicants prior to their commitment to the program. 

  • Week Intensive: July 19-24, 2020
  • Fall Weekend:  October 15-18, 2020
  • Winter Weekend: Jan 28-31, 2021
  • Spring Weekend: April 8-11, 2021

Eligibility & Requirements

We are looking for applicants who are passionate about rural education and are driven toward school leadership roles.

The Rural School Leadership Academy is open to all rural educators. You do not need to be a Teach For America alum to apply. Teach For America corps members must have successfully completed their corps commitment before joining RSLA. 

All Participants:

  • Must be working in a rural K-12 school setting for the 2020-21 school year
  • Must be able to fully attend all four in-person sessions over the course of one week and three long weekends.

Stream 1 Participants:

  • Should be teaching in a rural school
  • Should be interested in pursuing an adult-facing leadership role in a rural K-12 school setting in the next 1-3 years

Stream 2 Participants:

  • Must be serving in a role where the majority of your time is focused on instructional leadership of adults (likely a mid-level leadership role in a school such as assistant principal or dean)
  • Should have clear aspirations toward principalship in a rural community in the next 1-4 years
  • Should anticipate being in your role for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years


The 2021 application will open in the fall of 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact if you have any questions that are not answered below.