The mission of the Northeast Leadership Academy is to prepare exceptional 21st century principals for schools in rural northeastern North Carolina. We deeply believe that effective principals must be proactive in efforts to connect schools and communities, and thoughtfully consider their role in developing and sustaining community-based initiatives to increase the likelihood of success for every student. As part of the School and Community Engagement program component, each NELA Fellow participated in an internship with a community organization during the summer of 2015.
Through the internship, Fellows were able to learn about the vision, mission, and daily operations of a community-based organization; gain an understanding of how community organizations work in conjunction with schools and other institutions to meet critical needs; and gain a deeper appreciation for the community assets that can be leveraged for student success. In addition, Fellows worked with the the organization's leader to design a plan for a community-based, school-affiliated initiative that addresses local needs, and develop a viable grant proposal to support this initiative.
During Donnell Cannon's community internship he served as the site coordinator for the Peacemakers Family Center's Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program. The CDF Freedom Schools® program seeks to build strong, literate, and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, nation and world today. By providing summer and after-school reading enrichment for children who might otherwise not have access to books, the CDF Freedom Schools program plays a much needed role in helping to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps – and is a key part of CDF’s work to ensure a level playing field for all children.
Donnell's responsibilities were to provide guidance, support, encouragement, and constructive feedback to servant leader interns, provide pedagogical assistance and feedback to the servant leader interns on all aspects of their work, design and coordinate parent workshops and other parental involvement initiatives, and work with the project director to keep the lines of communication open between parents, staff, and sponsor organizations.