Skip to main content

Rural School Leadership Academy Rural School Leadership Academy

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 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 up to 50 participants made up of  three streams of aspiring and current school leaders:

  • Stream 1: Classroom teachers who are beginning to explore school leadership roles.
  • Stream 2: Mid-level school-based leaders preparing for school principal roles.
  • Stream 3: School principals focused on building and sustaining their leadership.


The key program components include:

  • Three cycles of virtual professional development focused on building skills in school leadership competencies.
  • In person gatherings and school visits in rural communities once or twice during the fellowship. (safety permitting)
  • One-on-one leadership coaching twice-monthly throughout the fellowship.
  • Continuous Participant-driven application of learning to impact participant’s school community.

All program expenses are fully funded for participants.

Participants will have the option to add one of two certifications from Harvard Graduate School of Education fully paid for as an additional component of their RSLA experience. 

If participants choose to pursue a certificate, they will complete two of the courses during their RSLA program year, and can continue to finish coursework through January of the following year.

2022-2023 Learning Cycles and Rural Gatherings

The program commitments are participation in 3 virtual learning cycles and 1-2 live gatherings*. The virtual learning cycles span 3-4 weeks and offer a calendar of engagements that are designed to be accessible to participants across time zones. 

The following are the tentative dates for the live & virtual gatherings for the 2022-2023 cohort. Final dates, locations, session overviews, materials, and event registration will be communicated in advance of each component. 

*While we are optimistic that we will be able to safely resume travel to attend live gatherings as a part of the cohort experience, we will make and communicate modifications as they are needed to this tentative schedule. 

  • Summer 2022: Hybrid Learning Cycle, location TBD, In person Tuesday, July 19 - Friday, July 22, 2022 with virtual programming continuing through August 7, 2022.
  • Fall 2022: Virtual Learning Cycle, Saturday, October 15 Kick-Off, Cycle ends November 6, 2022
  • Winter 2023: In Person Rural Community Gathering and School Visit, locations and specific dates TBD. Participants will choose one to two rural community visits that work for their schedule to attend. 
  • Spring 2023: Virtual Learning Cycle, Saturday, April 15 Kick-Off, Cycle ends May 7, 2023

Eligibility & Requirements

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

This program is now open to all rural educators. You do not need to be a Teach For America alum to apply.

We welcome school based teams to apply together, such as a principal, the assistant principal and a teacher leader from the same school. Each member of a team will submit an individual application. There is a space on the individual application to indicate if you are a member of a school team applying.

All Participants:

  • Must be working in a rural K-12 school setting for the 2022-23 school year.
  • Must be able to fully attend required components in all three learning cycles and at least one in person gathering. 

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 1-3 years.
  • Should anticipate being in this role for the 2022-23 school year.

Stream 3 Participants:

  • Must be serving in a principal or head of school role.
  • Should have clear aspirations to sustain their work in school leadership in a rural community for the next 2-5 years.
  • Should anticipate being in this role for the 2022-23 school year.


Final Deadline - February 21, 2022

Please contact if you have any questions.

Nominate a colleague by completing this form.

What our participants are saying about RSLA

“This has been the most useful training in my career.”

“I wish all my Professional Developments were like this. I built great relationships with my cohort through the experience.”

“Excellent energy and atmosphere. Did not seem virtual at all!”

“Everyone is so interesting, with such diverse perspectives and experiences. I feel like I learn so much just by listening to others and learning what they know. I truly appreciate the opportunity to be in virtual community with everyone in this group.”

“I love the momentum and the build up of the sessions. I love how they are evolving as we move through the program.”

“I've learned strategies that I will be implementing on the daily basis.”

Frequently Asked Questions

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