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At DCPS, we work to recruit, develop, and invest in talented, caring, and diverse leaders to provide a learning experience where students get the rigorous, joyful, and inclusive academic and social emotional learning experiences.

That starts with supporting our leaders in RISE schools.

RISE Assistant Principals and Principals

Grow and lead at a RISE school

Emerging Leaders

The RISE Emerging Leaders program is a multi-part series focused on the development of personal and adaptive leadership skills.


Designed for emerging school leaders (including TLIs, Instructional Coaches, Coordinators, Managers, Directors, Deans, and Assistant Principals), participants have opportunities to reflect on their leadership practices and explore leadership challenges in a cohort setting.


Program Dates: February to April 2023

Deadline: To participate, please complete an interest form by January 27

Attendance: Participants are expected to attend all 4 sessions (see dates below)
PLUs: PLU credit will be awarded after completion of the series and required attendance surveys

Questions? Contact Devan Davis at devan.davis@k12.dc.gov

RISE Professional Networking and Learning Opportunities

RISE is about providing opportunities for you to grow as a DCPS principal and assistant principal at a RISE School. Networking with one another is a critical component of empowering our people and supporting your growth as a professional. RISE networking opportunities include:

  • RISE-AU Literacy Partnership

  • RISE-NAESP Early Childhood Partnership

  • Aspiring Assistant Principal PLC

    • Are you a teacher leader, instructional coach, coordinator, dean, manager, or director looking to grow your leadership capacity?

    • Are you looking for an opportunity to connect and problem solve with fellow leaders across schools?

    • If so, consider joining the new Aspiring Assistant Principal PLC.

    • The Office of Leadership is designing a monthly Professional Learning Community for DCPS educators to learn about adaptive leadership and the qualities that make an effective Assistant Principal. This is an opportunity to refine your coaching practice and learn about effective strategies for working with teachers through an adaptive leadership lens.  

    • Participants will also receive feedback on techniques in preparation for the AP interview process and benefit from the guidance of current APs.

    • If you are interested in learning more and getting details about how to sign-up for the program, please complete this form or contact Noelani Mussman, Manager of Teacher Leadership at Noelani.Mussman@k12.dc.gov

RISE Book Study Professional Learning Community

Through the RISE Book Study, assistant principals can lead a small team at their school to address a high-leverage, school-based problem of practice.  In SY21-22, leaders at MacFarland Middle School, McKinley Middle School, Ballou High School, and Dunbar High School led their teams through these in-depth discussions.

The RISE Principal Residency

This residency pairs current assistant principals with a mentor DCPS principal for a yearlong, school-embedded residency program focused on preparing the next generation of DCPS principals to lead at RISE schools. The RISE Residency Program empowers rising principals to establish and maintain a strong school culture grounded in the school improvement process, promote high- quality instruction, and achieve ambitious student outcomes.  


In SY 22-23, the RISE Resident Principals are:

  • Amanda Schmitt, mentored by Lucas Cooke at MacFarland Middle School

  • Andral Hills, mentored by Jessica Morris at Turner Elementary School

  • Allecyn Gay-Howard, mentored by Kortni Stafford at McKinley Technology High School

  • Gretchen Sewell, mentored by William Massey at H.D. Woodson High School

  • Jon Rolle, mentored by Kiana Williams at Smothers Elementary School

  • Matthew Kennedy, mentored by Semanthe Bright at Coolidge High School


The inaugural RISE Residents are now serving as school leaders at: 

  • Lawrence Dance, Principal, Miner Elementary School

  • Donnell Cox, Interim Principal, Kelly Miller Middle School

  • Tiffany White, Assistant Principal, Dunbar High School

  • Darryl Powell, Assistant Principal, Roosevelt High School

  • Penelope Miller, Principal, Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School


Have questions? Contact Nakia Nicholson at Nakia.Nicholson@k12.dc.gov.

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Jon Rolle
mentored by Kiana Williams at
Smothers ES

“The transformative element of the RISE Residency is the focus on the human aspect of leadership. We are pushed to be introspective, reflect on our leadership, and challenge how we are perceived by the communities we serve. RISE moves far beyond the technical challenges and competencies of leadership and pushes us to consider the critical adaptive work that is required of Principals to drive lasting change in our communities. This program creates a clear path to the principalship. Without programs like RISE, that path is not always clear or easily accessible. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to grow as a leader, and sincerely appreciate DCPS’ dedication to cultivating talent from within and creating meaningful opportunities for growth."


 Andral Hills
mentored by Jessica Johnson at Turner ES

"The principalship is an extremely important role and this residency leads with DCPS’ values. There is so much preparation for teachers. What is often overlooked is leader development. This program shows us that DCPS prioritizes leaders and places value in us and our leadership roles. My mentor has shown me how to be a quiet storm and I’m inspired by her leadership. Principal Johnson maximizes every moment of every day. She accomplishes a lot in a day. I’m learning a new way of leading.”


 Allecyn Gay Howard
mentored by Kortni Stafford at McKinley Technology HS

"The RISE Residency Program shows that we can do this job and be effective. The program is clearly built aligned to DCPS’ vision and residents represent that throughline: We’re APs and instructional coaches. Next year, we will be principals and are getting the training to be successful in that new role. At McKinley, I love seeing the school communities come together and experience the greatness of the campus. I can go from a 6th grade classroom to a 12th grade classroom and see the trajectory of learning. It’s Principal Stafford’s vision to be one unified campus and her level of intentionality in structuring our leadership team and building upon one another's strengths to achieve that is inspiring."

RISE Resident Principal Spotlight

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Donnell Cox
Interim Principal Kelly Miller Middle School

Donnell Cox, interim principal of Kelly Miller Middle School, was part of the inaugural cohort of RISE Residents. For October for Principal’s Appreciation Month, he reflected on the program and his goals for the Kelly Miller community:


The principalship is the view of the full seat, stepping back and looking at the whole picture to see what our school needs to focus on, to create a plan, and to get all of us on board with that plan. And I got to do that with the RISE Principal Residency.


Leading is recognizing you are only as great as your team. Leading is showing empathy, while having accountability.  It’s about sitting down and listening to stakeholders and the community, being a leader, and building a stronger community.  I’m a different leader as a principal than I was as an assistant principal because I’ve had the opportunity to wear the shoes in this program. My style now is firm, fair, and consistent. 


And it’s already showing up: The highest leverage piece that I got from the RISE Principal Residency is the knowledge to connect with and ability to make connections across DCPS, DC, and the Kelly Miller community. We’re meeting with the community and partnering with the community. We hosted the White House conference on hunger, nutrition, and health and gained partners like DC Food Pantry to inform and support scholars with eating healthy. In addition, we were able to partner with ONSE OLA to provide services that support the whole child.  


This year, we had our most well-attended open house for families and the community in the last 10 years. We’re meeting with the community and partnering with the community. We’re changing our narrative. That starts with me as a leader, our administrative and leadership team, our educators, families, and students. Together, we adopted a new vision and mission statement that uplift nurturing productive citizens through inspiration, motivation, and education; we then asked if our students and families saw themselves in that vision and mission statement. Simply put, we want to provide our students with an HBCU experience right here in middle school with the experience of community and family, wraparound supports to help matriculate through Middle School.

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RISE Effective Principal and Assistant Principal Bonus

This pilot bonus incentive supports growth for DCPS principals and assistant principals at RISE schools. We know that leadership matters. The RISE Effective Principal and Assistant Principal Bonus is all about supporting our rising school leaders who are working to support students in our highest need schools. DCPS RISE principals and Assistant Principals can receive a $5,000 bonus. DCPS principals and assistant principals can receive a $5,000 bonus if you meet the following three criteria:

  • Worked as a principal or assistant principal at a RISE school in School Year 2021-22; AND

  • Earned an Effective IMPACT rating in School Year 2021-22; AND

  • Returned to a RISE school in School Year 2022-23 by August 30 in a WTU or CSO role.

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