The PIRATE Leadership Academy at East Carolina University (2020-2026)

Principal Investigators


The PIRATE Leadership Academy (PLA) at East Carolina University will prepare 40 effective principals from eastern NC, for eastern NC, who innovate, revitalize, advocate, and transform education for all students, families, and teachers. The PIRATE Leadership Academy will build on ECU’s nationally accredited principal preparation program (NPBEA, 2013) as it partners with superintendents and principals across 30 school districts in eastern North Carolina to recruit and identify the best teacher leaders in schools who have a desire to lead and serve their communities as school principals.

This grant serves as confirmation of the confidence state leaders have in the faculty in this department to produce school principals that will positively impact student learning and increase the quality of life for our citizenry.
- Dr. Art Rouse, COE interim dean

This program is a ‘big win’ for the school district and the principal fellow. Each principal fellow is provided a variety of opportunities to immerse themselves into leadership training that promotes their own personal and professional vitality. The school district benefits from the principal fellow’s servant leadership that impacts their school community.
- Hal Holloman, Professor of Educational Leadership, PI

The service-learning model requires Principal Fellows to immerse themselves into problems of practice at the very beginning of their program. They return to their school principal or district leader and ask, ‘How can I help? How can I serve?’ Answers to these questions guide the Principal Fellow’s Service Leadership Project (SLP) efforts as they become problem solvers, effective communicators, innovators, collaborators and change agents in their respective school communities
- Hal Holloman, Professor of Educational Leadership, PI

Preferred Citations

Hasse, E., Carruthers, W., & Lovin, P. (2019, October). Best Practices in Pre-Service Principal Preparation (Report 4.05). Garner, NC: GrantProse, Inc.

Holloman, H. L., & Novey, D. A. (2018). Developing a National Model for Principal Preparation through Service Leadership. International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, 13(1), 24-50.

Project Goals

Develop and evaluate an effective regional partnership model that prepares highly qualified principals.

The PLA team will partner with the Northeast Regional Education Service Alliance (NERESA) and the Southeast Education Alliance (SEA) starting in the fall of 2020, through spring of 2026, to train and support 40 highly qualified leaders to build leadership capacity and serve school districts in eastern NC.

Develop and evaluate an effective recruitment model that uses the Key Predictors of Leadership Potential (KPLP).

The PLA team’s recruitment and selection process will use the KPLP criteria to nominate the best “proven” teacher leaders, who have not seriously considered entering the principal pipeline due to potential financial costs related to graduate school and the inconveniences of retooling (i.e., money, time, travel commitments, maintaining a work/life balance) to become effective principals for their schools and communities.

Develop and evaluate the effectiveness of the Service Leadership Project Conceptual Framework for principal preparation.

The PLA team will prepare principal fellows to be successful principals through structured service-learning opportunities that enhance their learning experiences and ensure purposeful collaboration with school and community stakeholders.

Develop and evaluate an effective leadership and vitality coaching model.

The PLA team will prepare future school leaders with a focus on Restorative and Vitality practices. Principals fellows will learn the signs of burnout and emotional fatigue, and strategies to promote vitality for themselves and their school community.

Develop and evaluate an effective Leadership and Organizational Vitality and Effectiveness Dashboard.

The PLA team will analyze data from the Leadership and Organizational Vitality and Effectiveness Dashboard to provide a comprehensive view of the principal fellow’s impact in their school community.

Project Period


For More Information

For more information, please contact:

Cassandra B. White
Program Coordinator
PIRATE Leadership Academy
East Carolina University
College of Education
Educational Leadership Department
206 Ragsdale Building
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
(252) 328-2857 (office)
(252) 328-4062 (fax)


The UNC System’s North Carolina Principal Fellows program awarded a $3.7 million grant to establish the PIRATE Leadership Academy for principal preparation to serve eastern North Carolina.