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SAM Aspiring Principal Certification Program 
Strengthening the
Principal Pipeline

SAM Aspiring Principal Certification Nomination/Registration Form
Please submit nominations/registrations by September 8, 2023. 

Why Strengthen the Principal Pipeline?

Principals play an integral role in overseeing and providing the strategic direction of a school/district. In recent years we have found a decline in the number of highly qualified educators applying for administrative positions.

The SAM Aspiring Principal Certification Program is designed to support districts in identifying strong teacher-leader candidates who are committed to developing their educational leadership skills in preparation for becoming a building administrator.

The SAM organization is partnering with local districts to help facilitate the development of these future local leaders through one-hour monthly evening academy sessions focused on leadership development and a glimpse of administrative responsibilities.

Who Should Participate?

This program is intended for educators who...

  • are interested in pursuing educational leadership credentials,
  • are currently pursuing educational leadership credentials,
  • hold educational leadership credentials but have not secured their first administrator position.

Benefits of Participating in the SAM Aspiring Principal Certification Program

Participants will...

  • Engage in interactive one-hour monthly evening sessions.
  • Focus on leadership development and administrative responsibilities.
  • Gain an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of educational leaders.
  • Engage in parallel conversations with current administrators
  • Connect with practicing principals and fellow program participants at the Montana Principals Conference, January 21-23, 2024 in Butte and receive a reduced conference registration rate (  Register as “Retired/Intern” for a reduced rate)
    Register as “Retired/Intern” for a reduced rate
  • Earn continuing education renewal units and a Certificate of Completion

Discussion Topics and Timeline:

Monthly Meeting Topics

September 20:  The Foundation

  • Uncovering your leadership strengths

  • Introduce the Professional Standards for Educational Leadership

October 18:  The Foundation

  • Understanding the role of a principal

November 15:  The Transformation

  • Dealing with difficult situations

  • Effective communication skills

December: No session

January 21-23:  The Transformation

  • Montana Principals Conference in Butte

    • Being an instructional leader

    • Building a leadership team and empowering staff

    • Establishing a work/life balance

February 21The Elevation

  • Leading school operations

  • Creating and sustaining a positive school culture

March 20The Promotion

  • Exploring Montana higher education programs

April 17:  The Promotion

  • Understanding the components of  application materials 

  • Anticipating and preparing for interview questions and scenarios 

All sessions will be held virtually from 7:00-8:00 pm


Sessions are scheduled virtually from September through April on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM.  Participants are encouraged to engage in parallel conversations with their current administrator to further the discussion outside of these monthly discussion meetings.

  • Preferred three years of experience as a teacher
  • Actively engaged in a building and/or district-level leadership team
  • Nomination or recommendation from an administrator
  • Completion of application by September 8, 2023 with administrator approval

School/District Responsibilities:

  • Recruit and nominate candidates for the program
  • Pay applicant's registration fee ($500)
  • Support candidates by furthering exploration of monthly topics with follow-up discussions and provide on-site leadership opportunities
  • Support attendance at the Montana Principal Conference, January 21-23, 2024 in Butte

Candidate Responsibilities:

  • Commitment to attending (virtually, being prepared, and engaging in and reflecting upon monthly interactive webinars)
  • Commitment to having parallel conversations with a current school administrator centered around monthly topics (preferably building administrator)
  • Commitment to attending the Montana Principal Conference, January 21-23, 2024 in Butte


Please submit nominations/registrations by September 8, 2023. 

SAM Aspiring Principal Certification Nomination/Registration Form