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 expenses—travel, lodging, meals, and all professional development—are 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.
- 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 RSLA@teachforamerica.org if you have any questions that are not answered below.
Rural locations are generally characterized by geographic isolation and small populations.
RSLA participants have come from all over the country, including from towns that are 2+ hours away from an airport and/or large grocery store.
If you have specific questions or concerns about your situation, please email RSLA@teachforamerica.org.
Yes. Nominations and referrals are welcome and an important way we identify candidates for the RSLA. To nominate someone, please email RSLA@teachforamerica.org. You are encouraged to nominate multiple rural leaders. Your nomination(s) will remain anonymous.
We will accept a group of 55 - 65 participants divided relatively evenly between the Stream 1 and Stream 2 programs.
Yes. We are putting a lot of content into a very short time together, and need all participants to plan to be at every day of each of the in-person engagements.
No. Participation in the RSLA will not lead to any certification or degrees. RSLA is designed to be a leadership development program that builds your capacity for success in school leadership roles. You will receive exposure to some of the best practices in rural school leadership, visit rural schools and build a network with highly esteemed content experts, colleagues, and facilitators from across the country.