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Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on inquiries we have received during our “Conversations with the New ALA” tour, as well as through email submissions.

If you have a question or need additional information, please feel free to contact us using the form link below: 

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Frequently Asked Questions

ALA Reach is a set of professional learning offerings that any Arkansas educational leader or aspiring leader may choose to join. These offerings range from an ongoing, virtual community of practice to one-time webinars that can be watched live or on-demand. There is no application process for ALA Reach. Participants may register and join single events or series as their schedule allows.

There will be many offerings throughout the course of the year. Some will be pre-recorded and available on-demand. Others will be offered live and recorded when possible, for later viewing. Date will be published on the website and advertised several weeks in advance.

Some sessions may occur during the school day, while others will be offered outside of school hours. Sessions specifically designed for teacher leaders and aspiring leaders will be offered at times when most teachers would be able to participate. The majority of sessions will be recorded and available for later viewing for those whose schedules do not allow live participation.

At this time, there are no ALA Reach offerings planned that would have a cost associated.

Teacher leaders and aspiring leaders are encouraged to participate in ALA Reach events that relate to the teachers’ interests, career goals, and schedules. Administrators are also encouraged to participate based on their own interests, career goals, and schedules.

The Arkansas Leadership Academy is a state-funded program for educational leaders and aspiring leaders serving in Arkansas schools. It is not open to educators working in schools outside of Arkansas.

ALA Collaborative is the collective name for all programs and experiences offered by the ALA that require application and a long-term commitment. Some programs, like the Master Principal Program, are specifically designed as a multi-phase, multi-year process. Other programs and experiences are designed to last approximately one school year; however, all of the ALA Collaborative programs and experiences are personalized to the participants and teams who apply. Participants and teams will have personalized journeys that include the following:

  • Common professional learning in the ALA focus areas of Collaborative Leadership, Collective Efficacy, and Cultural Competence;
  • Personalized professional learning and application based on team goals, individual career goals, and current roles in education; and
  • Opportunities to demonstrate professional growth, school outcomes, and student outcomes.

There are no registration costs to participants for content and/or support materials. Typically, schools and/or individual participants are responsible for arranging and funding their travel expenses including lodging, if necessary, and any substitute costs for participants. There are some differences for some programs related to hotel rooms and meals. Please review the details for each program by visiting the program’s page and clicking on the button that says “Download More Information and a Copy of the Application Questions.”

Sessions will be scheduled throughout the year and dates provided to potential participants as part of the application process.

Relationships are quickened by joint work, which is key to leadership development programs like ALA. And lasting connections are often forged in the “down time” between formal sessions and in the evenings of overnight institutes. Participants will be encouraged to use these opportunities, both inside and outside of formal learning experiences, to develop relationships with colleagues across the state as well as those closer to home on whom they can rely for years to come.

The ALA Collaborative is set up as a cohort model, which supports both joint work and common “down time.” Participants of one cohort will have opportunities to engage with participants in other cohorts; however, the majority of learning and “down time” will likely be with others from the same cohort.

Over the past five years, research, evidence, and our own experience have shown that relationships can be built in a variety of contexts, including completely virtual cohorts when they are designed specifically with relationship-building in mind. It is not the intention of the ALA to have any completely virtual cohorts but rather to supplement face-to-face learning with virtual experiences. When virtual experiences are used as part of a cohort, those experiences will be designed to nurture the relationships already developed and build on the work begun in face-to-face sessions.

Teacher leaders and aspiring leaders are encouraged to apply to ALA Collaborative, specifically for the Teacher Leader Program and School Team Empowerment. Administrators are also encouraged to apply to ALA Collaborative, specifically for the Master Principal Program, Instructional Leader Empowerment, School Team Empowerment, and Executive & Policy Leader Empowerment.

Please use this form to submit your application for the Arkansas Leadership Academy (ALA) 2022-23 cohorts. All applications must be received by 4:30 pm on Monday, May 9, 2022, to be considered for the 2022-23 school year.

The application is fairly lengthy, and the program collecting application information does not allow you to save and come back. We suggest you download a copy of the application and prepare your answers before attempting to complete the entire application online. A link to download more information and a copy of the application questions is available within the application itself and on each program’s page of the ALA website.

Any Arkansas educational leader or aspiring leader is eligible to apply for the ALA Collaborative. When you apply, you’ll be asked to identify which of the programs or experiences align with your current job role and career goals. If you are applying as a part of a team for School Team Empowerment, you will also have an opportunity as an individual to select “add-on” programming for Teacher Leadership, Instructional Leadership, or Executive & Policy Leadership.

Overview information, including eligibility criteria, is available on the ALA Website on each program’s page. Detailed information about each program can be found by clicking on the button on the page that says “Download More Information and a Copy of the Application Questions.” The same detailed information about each program is also available within the cohort application itself.

We are committed to providing personalized professional learning pathways that best meet the needs of participants’ roles while they are in the program. If you believe there is a strong possibility your role for the 2022-23 school year will be different from your current role, you might want to apply for both programs. You’ll have an opportunity to identify which is your first preference, and you can even explain why.

The ALA has six advisory committees. They are:

  • Governance Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Publicity and Communications Committee
  • Project Management and Leadership Committee
  • Evaluation Advisory Panel

Each committee includes experts, partners, and key stakeholders, including current practitioners. If you are interested in serving on an advisory board, please email us at or submit this form.

No, there is no requirement that in-state experts be part of other state programs. A variety of in-state experts will be needed for various roles. All applicants for consulting contracts and those interested in serving as mentors, presenters, or learning facilitators will be vetted for knowledge and expertise in their field.

The Master Principal Program was created by law to provide “training programs and opportunities to expand the knowledge base and leadership skills of public school principals.” It consists of three phases:

“Phase One,” which shall expand the knowledge base and leadership skills of the principal;

“Phase Two,” which shall require the principal to apply strategies and to collect evidence of improvement in student learning and school processes; and

“Phase Three,” which shall require the principal to publicly demonstrate the ability and skills that lead to sustained academic improvement in a school and a school district.

Any Arkansas principal with one year of experience may apply for Phase 1. A school principal successfully completing all phases and designation requirements of the program is designated as a Master Principal by the Arkansas Leadership Academy.

On April 14, 2022, the State Board of Education approved an amendment to the rules that govern the Master Principal Program regarding the eligibility criteria. The criteria were modified so that applicants:

  1. Must be full-time, practicing principals with at least one year of experience (Preference will be given to applicants with three (3) or more years of leadership experience. The years of experience preference may be evaluated on a case by case basis.) and
  2. hold a standard building-level administrator license or work under an approved licensure exception.

The previous State rules had required that applicants:

  1. Must be full-time, practicing principals with at least one year of experience and
  2. hold a state principal certificate/standard building level administrator license.

Yes. Our Master Principal Program is personalized, so some participants may be able to work through Master Principal Program Phase 1 at a faster rate than other participants; however, all participants must meet the expectations and pass the assessments of Phase 1 to move on to Phase 2. The Master Principal Program supports HRS implementation, but there is not a one-to-one relationship between Master Principal Program Phase 1 and HRS Level 1 certification.

According to state law, “a school principal successfully completing the program shall be designated as a master school principal by the academy.” Designated Master School Principals are eligible to receive financial incentives from the State as described below:

  • All Designated Master School Principals
    • $9,000 yearly incentive bonus for up to 5 years, while serving as full-time, building-level principal in an Arkansas public school;
  • Designated Master School Principals in High-Need Schools
    • $20,000 yearly high-need salary bonus for up to 5 years, while serving as a full-time, building-level principal in a high-need Arkansas public school;
    • Plus $15,000 at the end of the third consecutive year and $10,000 at the end of the fifth consecutive year in the same school.

No. DESE provide the stipends to eligible Master School Principals.

High-need schools are identified as failing to meet certain established levels of academic achievement under rules adopted by the State Board of Education. The State Board is reevaluating Master Principal Program rules. We will make this information available as soon as possible.

Teacher leaders are encouraged to participate in ALA Reach and/or to apply for the Teacher Leader Program. Teachers may also apply as part of a team for School Team Empowerment. All of these offerings will extend a teacher leader’s learning about leadership in and through the classroom.

Through the Teacher Leader Program, School Team Empowerment, and ALA Reach, teacher leaders will be provided knowledge and skills to expand their reach throughout their school, district, region, and state. Teacher leaders who have already gained such knowledge and skills are encouraged to consider applying to be a mentor, learning facilitator, or presenter who helps lead and facilitate ALA offerings statewide or regionally.

Yes, the Teacher Leader Program, School Team Empowerment, and ALA Reach will incorporate strategies for working with other adults to build strong structures within and across departments.

Yes. DESE created Lead-Teacher Designation as part of the Teacher Career Continuum. “To encourage teacher leadership and provide Arkansas Teachers with viable career options, the state’s Teacher Leader Advisory Group created the Teacher Career Continuum, effective May 2019 … Lead-Teacher Professional designations recognize teachers for demonstrating job-embedded professional learning. [This designation distinguishes] these teachers as expert practitioners and leaders in the teaching profession. Teachers with lead … designations may become mentors to aspiring teachers or early career professionals, and assume leadership positions with their school communities.”

The Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Teacher Leader Program is an approved pathway for Lead-Teacher Designation for those who would like to pursue that career pathway.

To learn more about the Lead-Teacher Designation, please see