The RISE Urban Principal Preparation (RISE UPP) Program is a partnership between RISE San Diego and the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education at the University of San Diego. RISE UPP aims to create a pipeline for principals who are committed to advancing equity in San Diego’s urban schools. RISE UPP participants will be current principals (less than five years of experience), future principals (those already enrolled in an administrative credential program and those who will soon enroll), and those interested in school leadership.

RISE UPP is a one-year program for its first cohort of fellows, which began in 2018. It is fully funded for its pilot year and FREE of charge to its pilot participants. Click the button below for more information on the RISE UPP program.


RISE UPP participants will experience:


An active learning environment for exploring cutting edge pedagogies for engaging students in learning, models of conflict mediation, nurturing healthy school and community relationships, and research-based work on transforming urban school structures, processes, and cultures.


Intensive leadership development around their personal and professional identities as transformative leaders who advance equity in their schools. Participants will engage in deep reflection and action around issues of race/ethnicity, culture, gender, social class, language, dismantling educational inequity, and building school structures and processes that lead to educational equity.


Deep engagement in authentic and relevant action research in their schools that is geared toward understanding barriers to educational equity and designing solutions to advance educational equity for underrepresented, students of color.


Longstanding educational research tells us that effective school transformation not only requires principals steeped in knowledge of cutting edge pedagogies and technology, relationship-building inside and outside of the school, conflict mediation, and visionary thinking about preparation for college and career; sustainable school transformation requires leaders who can simultaneously shape, direct, and move stakeholders through multiple dimensions of school change. These dimensions – technical, cultural/normative, and political – require a multifaceted skill set of technical knowledge (e.g., pedagogy, flexible grouping of students, technology), cultural or normative mindsets at the individual and school levels (e.g., asset-based approaches to student learning and teacher support, creating healthy school cultures), and political maneuvering (e.g., relationship-building and engagement, strategic partnerships).

Graduates of RISE UPP will be able to leverage their multifaceted technical, cultural and political skills through an equity mindset to facilitate urban school transformation in San Diego schools. In RISE UPP, an equity mindset refers to the knowledge, dispositions, and skills that urban school leaders need to support, create and expand students’ access to high quality educational experiences that lead to a range of post-secondary options such as college and career. RISE UPP participants will focus on cultivating an equity mindset that integrates their personal identity and professional identity related to a range of critical issues that impact the educational experiences of underrepresented, students of color.

The program provides a concentrated focus on cultivating an equity mindset for transforming San Diego’s urban schools into places of excellence and innovation. RISE UPP complements administrative credential programs and offers 8 units of continuing education credits granted through the University of San Diego. Graduates can check with administrative credential programs about transferring units from RISE UPP.