American Indian School Leadership

Grant Information

American Indian School Leadership Program (AISL) received a $1.2 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education in November, 2016, to continue its work in preparing professionals specifically for Native American school leadership.  NAU’s aim is to more than triple the number of Native Americans serving as principals and school leaders. The curriculum is designed to prepare principals to actively lead in improved instruction and school change not just manage programs and buildings. Enrolled students who are employed have the opportunity to earn their Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership-K-12 Administration without having to leave their current positions.

What is AISL?

The American Indian School Leadership (AISL) program is a federally funded Master's of Education program specifically geared toward training Native American teachers to become highly effective principals serving in American Indian schools.

Why do we need programs like AISL?

  • Financial instability prevents many Native American students from being able to commit to the rigors of a graduate-level education. Tribal scholarship funds cannot provide adequate financial support to help students meet daily living expenses and reduce financial barriers to enrollment or retention.  Additionally, it is particularly difficult for part-time graduate students to obtain financial assistance.
  • New principals need pre-service training that prepares them to lead improved instruction and school change, not just manage budgets and buildings: recent results on the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test show Native American students lacking in all major areas measured (Arizona Department of Education AIMS Report, 2012). 

Why NAU's program?

NAU has a strong commitment to Indian students. The university has one of the largest enrollments of Indian students among public, four-year institutions in the United States (2011 IPEDS: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System).  NAU ranks near the top among all public, four-year institutions in Indian student enrollment.  In Fiscal Year 2011, NAU ranked 8th out of these public, four-year schools for Bachelor degrees granted to Indian students. The Indian students themselves are diverse and originate from 102 different tribes, the largest contingents being from the Navajo and Hopi tribes.

Want to know more?

Still have questions?

Contact Savannah Sydney, the AISL Program Coordinator, by phone at 928-523-8033 or by email at