Leverage Leadership Institute Fellowship

Training leaders with a proven track record of success in their district or network to achieve excellence in the levers of leadership, and teach others to do the same.

Relay instructor teaching workshop and interacting with students.

Program Participants

The Leverage Leadership Institute (LLI) Fellowship is for high-performing principals and principal managers who serve in traditional school districts and charter management organizations from all over the world. This is a selective, tuition-free program. We look for leaders who are in the top 10% of schools in their local district or state, and have led student outcomes to double-digit gains. We seek leaders who are motivated to drive to excellence in execution of the levers of leadership and in teaching others to do the same. Learn more about our alumni and current fellows:

Program Focus

LLI prepares great leaders to become extraordinary. Fellows have the unique opportunity to deepen their skills in instructional leadership levers as identified in Leverage Leadership 2.0 (Bambrick-Santoyo, 2018). Together, fellows dive deeply into topics such as observation and feedback, data driven instruction, lesson planning, and leading school culture across a network of schools. The LLI Fellowship provides passionate, effective leaders with the tools to achieve even larger-scale impact for children and schools around the world.

Program Experience

LLI is a one-year fellowship program consisting of a 2-day orientation, a week-long Summer Intensive, and four 2-3 day Intersessions throughout the year. Fellows benefit from:

  • Expert faculty: Learn from experienced practitioners with demonstrated success in the field, including Paul Bambrick-Santoyo and Kathleen Sullivan.
  • Regular feedback: Receive one-on-one coaching with Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, Kathleen Sullivan, and other expert faculty via regular video assessment.
  • A network of peers: Join a close-knit international community of 25 high-performing leaders and an extensive network of supportive alumni.
  • Access to resources: Access to, and opportunity to impact, all content available to Relay Leadership Program participants.
  • Opportunities for impact: Earn the distinction of Leverage Leadership Proof Point or Instructor, and potentially join the LLI faculty to teach the LLI approach to instructional and cultural leaders around the world.
“My year as an LLI fellow has been the single most intense period of professional and personal growth that I have experienced in my 25-year career. LLI has rekindled my passion for school leadership during the twilight of my career. I feel more "on fire" in year 25 than I did in year one!”

- 2022-23 LLI Fellow

All Leverage Leadership Institute (LLI) Fellowship programming is in person. Intersessions are located in U.S. cities where LLI Platinum Leaders are doing their work.

Kick-Off and Summer Intensive

May 9-10, 2024

2 days I New York City

Topics: Welcome to the Fellowship; Leading Professional Development

June 24-29, 2024

1 week I Houston, TX

Topics: Leading an Equity-Centered Culture, Coaching Adults: Observation and Feedback, Data-Informed Instruction, among others


October 2024, December 2024, February 2025, May 2025

2-3 days I Locations TBD

Program Cost

We offer this highly-selective program tuition-free. Participants or sponsoring organizations will need to cover the cost of travel to and from sessions. Relay will provide hotel accommodations and meals at all in-person trainings and convenings.

Excellence in Execution

Video Submissions and Practice

First, you must “walk the walk” and show mastery of execution in your school(s). You will focus on developing mastery in specific levers of leadership, such as using data to drive instruction, leading adult professional development, delivering effective observation and feedback,  and creating positive school-wide culture.

You will film yourself implementing these practices in your home school(s) and will submit your videos and evidence of authentic implementation as assignments for feedback. During class sessions, you will analyze and discuss effective practices demonstrated by peers in your cohort. You will also receive individualized feedback and practice implementing that feedback to improve your practice. In between class sessions, you will receive coaching from LLI leaders and be paired with partners in the cohort to get additional practice providing and implementing feedback. Throughout the program, you will work to deeply implement the levers in your school(s) and earn consistently excellent ratings on the rubric(s) in order to achieve distinction.

During the fellowship, you will gain access to frameworks, cheat sheets, presentations, and other supporting materials that will help you further develop mastery across the levers.

“There are other programs that can tell you how to be a better leader, but LLI puts you in the hot seat to walk the walk with love, support, and compassion and be the best leader you can be for your students, teachers, and school community."

 —Matthew Rooney, 2021-2022 LLI Fellow

Developing Your Skills as a Leverage Leadership Instructor

Over the course of the fellowship, you will observe strong faculty in action and  hone your instructional leadership skills. If you are successful in facilitating the levers of leadership and coaching others to develop their skills, you will become a certified Leverage Leadership Instructor. Through your work, greater numbers of students across the world will benefit from improved schools. 

Leverage Leadership Instructors join a tightly-knit community of outstanding leaders who receive ongoing development, support, and access to cutting-edge leadership curriculum.

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I know I would not be the leader I am today if I did not have the opportunity to be part of the wonderful community of scholars and mentors in the Relay Graduate School of Education.

—Celeste Douglas, District Superintendent, NYC DOE

Anetra Cheatham's Story

Anetra Cheatham

“Anyone who has engaged in the work of school turnaround knows its complexity. Our team's participation in the Relay programming was impactful because of how it helped us to prioritize our efforts and give consideration to the key moves we should make around change management. The clarity of the protocols removed so many questions and barriers to the tasks ahead while also serving as a roadmap to achieving our goals. Leverage Leadership Institute then took my practice to a whole new level as I was able to learn and grow from the expertise of practitioners with proven results. I am the leader my system needs me to be because of the Relay Leadership Programs.”

—Anetra Cheatham, Chief Innovation Officer, Beaumont ISD, Beaumont, TX

Colin Smith
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What I remember most is how our [cohort] listened to each other. And how much people really took what others had said or done and put that in their own toolkit.

Colin Smith, Country manager, One World Network of Schools

Step 1

First, if your district does not already have a partnership with Relay Leadership Programs, share and discuss this opportunity with your district/network leadership to ensure their support of your application. See admissions criteria below for more information and direct any questions related to eligibility to the Senior Partner of the Leverage Leadership Institute, Kathleen Sullivan at ksullivan@relay.edu.

Step 2

Next, complete the Relay admissions application, which includes:

  • Resume
  • Short essay
  • Evidence of student results

Apply Now

The application for the School Year 2024-2025 LLI Fellowship is now open through March 1, 2024.

Apply now
Relay instructor teaching workshop.

Admissions Criteria

The Leverage Leadership Institute is a selective fellowship opportunity for 25 leaders each year who are in the top 10% of schools in their local district or state and have led student outcomes and opportunities to double-digit gains.

The fellowship is for current principals and principal supervisors who are already familiar with the levers of leadership, have implemented them in their school(s), and have demonstrated strong results. It is open to school leaders of all types of schools in all regions who meet the criteria.

Evidence of student results are required as part of the application. Please begin working on compiling your student achievement outcomes as soon as possible, as these can be the most time-consuming part of the application process.

Nominations received from superintendents, current LLI fellows or alumni, and Relay will be given strong consideration for this program. Nominations should be sent to Kathleen Sullivan at ksullivan@relay.edu.

Student Results Guidelines

Student achievement data that is uploaded should, at a minimum, demonstrate:

  • Evidence that your school (or the schools you manage) are in the top 10% of your local district or state


  • Evidence that you (or the schools you manage) had double-digit gains in relation to the statewide or district-wide average gains/loss in the last one to three years.

NOTE: Admissions decisions favor evidence of a trend of positive student impact over multiple years.

Get to Know Leverage Leadership

The Leverage Leadership Institute (LLI) holds day-long workshops, offered both virtually and in-person. LLI workshops cover the fundamentals of the Leverage Leadership model created by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (explored in books Leverage Leadership and Get Better Faster). LLI workshop topics include:

  • Weekly data meetings
  • Observation and feedback
  • Leading planning meetings
  • Leading an equity-centered culture

Workshops are facilitated by certified Leverage Leadership Institute Fellows - a select group of school leaders with a proven track record of results.

These workshops are open to any leaders who coach at least one teacher (e.g.: Principals, Deans of Students, Assistant Principals, Teacher Coaches, and more). Workshops are a great fit for: 

  • Leaders who are familiar with LLI or brand new to LLI
  • Leaders who are looking for bite-sized training on the levers of instructional leaders
  • Leaders who want to bring a private LLI workshop to their larger team

Apply to be an LLI Fellow

Applications for the 2024-2025 Leverage Leadership Institute Fellowship are now closed. Please check back in November 2025 for the next round of applications.

Bring LLI Workshops to You

Interested in bringing the LLI approach to your organization? You can book an LLI-trained facilitator to lead a day-long workshop for your staff.