School Leadership

Assistant Principal Institute (API)


The Assistant Principal Institute (API) is a year-long program designed to prepare strong assistant principals for principal positions in one to three years. API is structured to support participants in the exploration of specific instructional questions and issues of interest. Through an inquiry model grounded in school-based study, API participants hone skills of low-inference observation and feedback, generative professional dialogue, collaborative problem-solving, and decision-making. This work supports assistant principals shift the lens through which they view schools, moving from the perspective they have in their current roles as APs, to thinking, seeing, and planning as a building principal would. 

In addition, participants will have the opportunity to refine a full range of leadership skills, with a strong focus on instructional and facilitative leadership. With the understanding that our assistant principals assume many roles, all of which are critical to ensuring strong outcomes for all of our students, API seeks to enhance our participants’ growth and development in current positions as well as their preparation for the role of building principal.

Participants will learn to:

  • Facilitate professional learning communities that promote inquiry and implement the Citywide Instructional Expectations and thus support each school’s ongoing professional dialogue
  • Conduct school visits (as a framework for observations) and through discussion with team members, understand how low-inference observations can generate feedback that moves every teacher’s professional learning goals forward and improves their overall effectiveness
  • Foster and sustain collegial learning through the coordination of effective school planning based on common, community-wide goals as well as needs that arise from the examination of data
  • Gain an understanding of systems that: advance students’ academic growth, utilizing an array of data streams ranging from summative and formative assessments through the close examination and study of student work; strengthen school morale and climate, and cultivate personal, professional and group responsibility for all
  • Enhance school culture for all members of the school community, cultivating a school environment in which all members uphold basic values

Program Structure:

50-60 assistant principals (10-12 per cluster) will be selected to participate in this year’s Assistant Principal Institute. Participants will engage in 10 monthly sessions including all participants from late September 2014 – May/June 2015. Each of these sessions will take place from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

In addition, each cluster-based group will conduct a series of school visits, through which they will engage in an extended inquiry around a learner-centered problem, or a problem of practice, resulting in a structured case study/presentation that includes recommendations for scaffolding strengths and addressing challenges.

Participants will not be paid per session, as most portions of API and school-based meetings take place during their usual work hours. However, the program will encompass the Principal Candidate Pool process, with PD sessions embedded in the work and assessments given for those who are not yet in the pool. Therefore, all candidates who are not yet in the pool will be in the pool when they leave the program (or shortly thereafter). In addition, they will be provided with a light supper at each meeting.

Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants for API should be strong assistant principals who plan to transition into principal positions within one to three years. These may be individuals who are part of a sitting principal’s succession plan, or those who are interested in taking over another school. In addition, candidates must have:
  • At least 6 years in good standing of employment with the NYC DOE
  • At least three years of experience as an assistant principal with the NYC DOE
  • Current employment in good standing with the DOE
  • Recommendation from current principal/supervisor
  • Strong Interest in becoming a principal within three years of completion of the program

Selection Process:

April 2014: Cluster leaders, network leaders, and superintendents identify assistant principals who have strong potential as school principals, and encourage them to apply. The opportunity will also be advertised through the Leadership Pathways website.

April 10, 2014: Applications are available



May 19, 2014: Application deadline--all application submission processes close at 5:00 p.m.

Late June 2014: Applicants will be notified*

Late September or early October, 2014: First monthly session

*Cluster leaders and superintendents will have the opportunity to vet the applicant and acceptance lists before notifications are released.

Program Contact:

Julie Conason -