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Developing next generation principals for future-focused schools

"I've learned so much about what leaders could and should be doing. I feel my eyes are much more open, and in my own role I am ensuring more and more is done correctly within our school. Very positive experience.”  NAPP participant 2015.

What does it take to 'open one's eyes' to be a next generation leader in a future-focused school? Participants who have engaged with the National Aspiring Principals Programme can tell you.

The National Aspiring Principals Programme (NAPP) is a blended professional learning programme. The work focuses on developing leaders who are learners; who will prepare our students for their future in a multi-cultural society and honouring the bi-cultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. A key principle of NAPP is to develop school leaders, who seek to develop teams of leaders, within and between schools who embrace innovation bounded by moral purpose and integrity as they work to change teaching and learning to mee 21st Century needs. Annually we have approximately 200 leaders, who work with approximately 2000-3000 other teachers who are working with 30,000- 40,000 students in our schools.

The process

When potential NAPP participants apply for the programme, they submit a digital application, which becomes part of a rigorous self-review process which aligns with the NAPP curriculum. For more about the curriculum, see the Napp 2015 brochure. NAPP facilitators (or Kaiarahi) coach participants through reflective interviewing techniques, which involves active listening and careful questioning techniques and use a combination of virtual (Skype, MyPortfolio, VLN) and face to face professional learning groups, participants are coached to help address individual 'Leading as Inquiry' foci. Participants are able to access private and public networks, and engage in professional learning conversations with other leaders ( IE: Enabling e-Learning leadership group forum). Shadowing their own and other principals as role models and mentors enables participants to see removed leadership in action as a prompt for critical reflection on practice.

Leadership inquiry

Each aspiring principal is required to undertake a personal professional inquiry. These inquiries have been categorised as follows:

NAPP inquiries

As an example one aspirant inquired into how effective the school was with engaging meaningfully with whānau and the changes that occurred as a result.

The results

As a result of the NAPP PLD, aspiring leaders develop self efficacy and and change agents who are actively connected across the country in learning networks and partnerships to share and create knowledge. Conversations with national aspiring principals show increased awareness of themselves, new understandings about leading learning and leading change, as well as increased clarity around the role of the principal in a future-focused schooling system. 

             NAPP quote 1             NAPP quote 2

49% of first-time principals have been on an aspiring principals programme. The videos below demonstrate three previous NAPP participants, as panel guests in the 2015 Hui, talking about the correlations between the NAPP curriculum and new understandings and behaviours in their roles as principals. It also shows the power of mihi in their delivery, which is another priority of the NAPP programme; as participants are encouraged to be proactive in culturally responsive practices. 


For more information, visit the National Aspiring Principals' Programme page or contact Jill Lunn.