Master Principal Program

ALA Principal Practices Blog

Purpose: The purpose of the Master Principal Program is to provide training programs and opportunities to expand the knowledge base and leadership skills of public school principals.

Creation: The Master Principal Program was established by the Arkansas 84th General Assembly in the Second Extraordinary Session of 2003 and signed into law as Act 44 by the governor. It was updated in 2013. Printable version of Act 44

Program: The program is a voluntary, three-phase (approximately three years) program that will provide bonuses to practicing principals achieving Master Principal designation. Printable version of Master Principal Program Overview

Administration: The program is administered by the Arkansas Leadership Academy. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) and the Arkansas Leadership Academy jointly determine the criteria for selection of candidates, review and modify (if appropriate) the areas of performance, and develop rigorous assessments.

Bonuses: The Arkansas Department of Education will promulgate rules and regulations to pay the following bonuses: the ADE will pay $9,000 annually for five years to Master Principals serving as full-time principals in Arkansas public schools; and $25,000 annually for five years to Master Principals who are selected and agree to serve in a “high need” school as defined by the ADE. There is a longevity hold-back of $5,000 per year to be paid in lump sums at the end of the third and fifth years. Printable version of Master Principal Program Rules and Regulations

Requirements for Applying: Applicants must be full-time, practicing principals with at least one year of experience, hold a state principal certificate/standard building level administrator license, and submit a completed application.

Superintendent Role: For an applicant to be considered for participation, the superintendent must sign the statement of support on the application and agree to attend an orientation session about the Master Principal program.

Selection Criteria:

  • Phase I (Principal Institute): Selection of participants will be based on responses to questions on the application and on achieving a state-wide balance using demographic information.
  • Phase II: After successful completion of the Phase I (Principal Institute), the principals may choose to submit an application for Phase II, presenting evidence of successful school results from Phase I. Current Phase I graduates will have two years to submit evidence of school results from Phase I and apply for Phase II.
  • Alternative Entrance to Phase II: Principals completing Building Level Administrator Licensure requirements, under the current performance-based licensure system, will have the opportunity to present evidence of success in Phase I performance areas and apply for Phase II.
  • Phase III: After successful completion of Phase II, the principal may apply for Phase III by successfully completing required Phase II assessments, and submitting evidence of results.
  • Master Principal Designation: Designation will made after successfully completing Phase III, passing extensive reviews of school results, and passing rigorous assessments.

Length of Institute: Phase I: One session of four days residential and three sessions of three days residential Phase II: One session of four days residential and two sessions of three days residential Phase III: One session of four days residential and two sessions of three days residential

Location: The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, Morrilton;

Expenses: Expenses, except for travel, are paid by the Arkansas Leadership Academy with funding from the Arkansas legislature through the Arkansas Department of Education.


Applications for the 2019-2020 Master Principal Program Phases are no longer available.

Submit your application to:
Richard Del Soto at
Arkansas Leadership Academy
346 North West Avenue, Room 318
Fayetteville, AR 72701
FAX: (479) 575-8663

ALA Rubric for PLP

Strands, Skills and Rubrics: The Arkansas Leadership Academy designs and uses its own curriculum and leadership performance rubrics based on research and best practices for the Master Principal Program.

Please contact Brenda Tash at 479-857-8831 or for more information.