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History of NISL in Virginia 

In April 2012 Dr. Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), introduced the National Institute for School Leadership’s “Executive Development Program” to the Virginia Foundation for Educational Leadership (VFEL) for consideration as a professional development opportunity for principals and other school leaders in Virginia.  Following further investigation and many conversations, it became evident that the goals of VDOE, the mission of VFEL, and the structure of the NISL “Executive Development Program” would provide a strong foundation for rigorous professional development, reinforce a common vision for education and student achievement, and utilize the power of these organizations together for the betterment of school leaders throughout the commonwealth.  


In 2013 Virginia became the 21st state to participate in, and provide, NISL’s “Executive Development Program.”


VFEL conducted Virginia’s first cohort of 23 educators in the “Executive Development Program” (EDP) from January 2013 - February 2014.  Members of Cohort I also received an additional five days of comprehensive training in coaching.  Upon completion of the program, participants reported that they had increased and intensified their knowledge and ability to be strategic thinkers, instructional leaders, and architects of school cultures in which all students are expected to meet high standards.





It was "unprecedented for NISL to certify facilitators this soon, but the depth, knowledge and experience of the (Virginia) candidates convinced NISL to move forward with certifying each VFEL faculty member."

Jennifer Beck-Wilson

Director of Instruction

National Institute for School Leadership

As the program progressed with the cohorts, VFEL and VDOE recognized strong connections existed between the components of the training program and the regulatory requirements for earning the Virginia Board of Education’s Principal of Distinction (Level II) endorsement (Licensure Regulations for School Personnel, Virginia Board of Education, 8VAC20-22-590).  It became increasingly apparent that participation in this exceptional leadership training strengthens the knowledge, skills, and abilities of school leaders to move forward with their efforts for continuous school improvement and student achievement. VFEL presented a recommendation to the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) in 2015 to communicate its strong support of NISL’s Education Development Program as a method for K-12 principals to achieve Level II of Virginia’s Principal of Distinction Administration and Supervision Endorsement.

Nine participants of Cohort I earned certification from NISL to facilitate new EDP training at state and national levels. According to NISL Director of Instruction Jennifer Beck-Wilson, it was “unprecedented for NISL to certify facilitators this soon, but the depth, knowledge and experience of the (Virginia) candidates convinced NISL to move forward with certifying each VFEL faculty member.” As a result Cohort 2, conducted in 2014-2015, was led by Virginia’s trained facilitators.

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