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Leadership Development Projects

We design and provide a range of leadership development interventions and experiences for teacher leaders, administrative leaders (at the school, network, and system levels) as well as for school-level and system-level leadership teams. We also design and provide development experiences for individuals who provide leadership coaching to school and system level leaders.

Our approach to leadership development recognizes the importance of leadership practice/competency development and emphasizes “active” learning designs. In this work we design/provide professional development, lead networked learning communities, and provide leadership coaching. Our impact-oriented learning designs identify what will be impacted through learning and formative data are collected through a “learning design” approach so that learning designs can be refined to strengthen developmental outcomes. 


Current/Recent Projects
TEAM Lead and Partners to Lead Cycle of Inquiry Leadership Development for Illinois Principals

CUEL Director Shelby Cosner is taking a lead role with the design of a multi-year, multifaceted school leader development program that is currently having broad impact in the state of Illinois through two federally funded projects (16M SEED and EIR). Both projects were initially conceptualized and are being delivered by Illinois State University, in collaboration with six Regional Educational Offices in Illinois. Taken collectively these two projects provide a multifaceted program of development and support to roughly 150 school principals in urban, rural and suburban settings throughout the state of Illinois.  The purpose of these two multi-year projects, TEAM Lead and Partners to Lead, is to increase principal effectiveness in areas that lead to increases in student achievement with particular attention to helping principals use and lead cycles of inquiry to support school-wide problem finding and solving.  In this work, Cosner has been the lead designer of a multi-year large group development experience for principals. She has also provided development to: a) trainers who deliver large group development in the four regional areas, b) a state-wide cadre of leadership coaches, all retired school and/or district leaders, who work individually with each of the 150 principals, c) and district-level leaders who are currently working directly with these 150 principals. Given the importance of this work, it is being studied for its impact by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). You can read more about this project at the following website: https://leadingedpartnerships.org/avada_portfolio/cycles-of-inquiry/

Facilitation of the LLIFT P-3 Networked Improvement Community

CUEL has launched the LLIFT P-3 Networked Improvement Community (NIC)  of 12 UIC EdD leadership program graduates, now school and system leaders, to explore how leaders can disrupt the impacts of high churn school environments through a focus on leadership of early childhood education P-3, and specifically the improvement of literacy outcomes. LLIFT P-3 leaders are engaged with a continuous improvement methodology focused at both the school and system levels to learn how school leadership can be developed and supported to more effectively serve high-churn elementary schools in such areas as: leadership for P-3 literacy instruction; families and communities as partners; and leadership for equity and resilience. NIC leaders presented their findings from the first year at a symposium in June 2019  for feedback and input from stakeholders. 

This initiative is expected to contribute to the improvement of leadership preparation and development programs and P-3 leadership policy at local and state levels. It is funded by the McCormick Foundation with additional support from the Steans and Stone Foundations. 


Development of High School Department Chairs, Madison Metropolitan School District, WI

In Summer 2018, the UIC Center for Urban Education Leadership began to provide professional development to six teams of high school department chairs in Madison (WI) Metropolitan Schools. The overall aim for the past two years has been to develop department chair capacity to support teacher and teacher team learning that improves instruction and student learning in MMSD’s 5 high schools. Read more


Development of Network Chiefs, Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

Since school year 2015-16, UIC has served as an external partner to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Network Supports in the professional development of CPS Network Chiefs.  Chiefs supervise principals in nearly all of Chicago’s neighborhood schools apart from the 75 Independent School Principal schools that are not members of a CPS Network. The UIC role in developing Network Chiefs began in 2015, before UIC graduate Dr. Janice Jackson became Chief Education Officer in CPS, (from which she was promoted to CEO of CPS in 2017), and the work has continued to evolve in its fifth year.  Read more


Development of North Lawndale Principals, IL

The purpose of the UIC Lawndale Leaders for Literacy (LL4L) project is to provide leadership development support to seven North Lawndale elementary school principals to improve their leadership for literacy learning in grades P-3.  Four of these schools are participants in the Children’s Literacy Initiative North Lawndale Reads project that Steans Foundation Supports. The seven principals have remained intact over a 4-year period and have formed a Networked Improvement Community that supports its members in their leadership development. LL4L began in 2016 as a collaboration between the UIC Center for Literacy and the Center for Urban Education Leadership in collaboration with UIC colleagues in educational leadership, until the passing of the Director of the Center for Literacy, Professor William Teale. Read more