Leverage Leadership Institute

Leverage Leadership Institute

The Leverage Leadership Institute empowers leaders to create a greater positive impact in their schools and education systems.

First option
Curriculum Highlights
Tuition & Schedule
Apply Now

Program Overview

The Leverage Leadership Institute is a selective fellowship program that prepares great leaders to become extraordinary. Leaders selected for the fellowship are in the top 10% of schools in their local district or state and have led student outcomes and opportunities to double-digit gains. If you are a leader who has achieved noteworthy results or transitioned to managing other principals, this program will provide you with the tools to achieve even larger-scale impact for children and schools. 

The Leverage Leadership Institute allows high performing principals and  principal managers the unique opportunity to deepen their skills in instructional leadership levers as identified in Leverage Leadership (Bambrick-Santoyo, 2012) and Leverage Leadership 2.0 (Bambrick-Santoyo, 2018). The tight-knit cohort is composed of 25 system-building leaders from across the world who will earn the distinction of a Leverage Leadership Proof Point or Instructor to teach the levers of instructional and cultural leadership. Most importantly, leaders will join a community driving impact in schools of all types.

2020-21 Leverage Leadership Institute Fellows
2019-20 Leverage Leadership Institute Fellows
2018-19 Leverage Leadership Institute Fellows
2017-18 Leverage Leadership Institute Fellows
2016-17 Leverage Leadership Institute Fellows
2015-16 Leverage Leadership Institute Fellows


Program Experience

Principals and Principal Managers who are selected for the fellowship will enjoy:

  • One on one coaching with Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, Kathleen Sullivan, and other expert faculty to do deep dives into observation and feedback, data driven instruction, and leading school culture across a network of schools
  • All benefits of NPAF/NPSA participants
  • The opportunity to practice and receive feedback via regular video assessment
  • A network of high performing leaders to help problem solve implementation challenges

Ideal Candidate

These sessions – Observation and Feedback, Weekly Data Meetings, and Leading School Culture – are ideal for anyone who coaches at least one teacher or who will be preparing to coach in the coming year.

Leverage Leadership Institute Cohort

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.

“Leverage Leadership was an amazing experience. I have new friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Putting myself all-in and being vulnerable raised the bar for the work I do with my leaders.. It was so worth it.”

— Jessica Haight, Leverage Leadership Institute ‘18

Excellence in Teaching

Developing your Skills as a Leverage Leadership Instructor

Over the course of the fellowship, you will observe strong faculty in action, identify elements of outstanding adult learning, and work to develop your own, authentic, adult learning skills. If you are successful in presenting the levers of leadership and coaching others to develop their skills, you will become an approved Leverage Leadership Instructor. Through your work training principals, greater numbers of students and communities across the country will have the opportunity to benefit from highly effective school leadership.

Leverage Leadership Instructors will join a prestigious community of outstanding leaders who will receive ongoing development, support, and access to leading-edge changes in best practice leadership curriculum.

Program Schedule

The Leverage Leadership Institute consists of an orientation session, summer intensive, and four “intersessions.” Fellows will be expected to participate in all of the following activities:

  • A virtual kick-off seminar on May 19 and 20, 2021
  • Summer intensive sessions of the National Principals Academy, June 2021 (specific dates and options will be communicated to selected fellows)
  • Attend four intersessions during the year to conduct video review, feedback, and practice. 
    • October 13-15, 2021 (Virtual)
    • December 8-10, 2021 (Virtual)
    • February/March 2022 (Location TBA)
    • May 11-14, 2022 (Location TBA)
  • Film themselves implementing the leadership levers for faculty and peer review
  • Conduct one, 30-minute peer review call between each intersession


Program Fee

At all in-person trainings and convenings, Relay provides all hotel accommodations and meals. Fellows (or sponsoring organizations) are responsible for travel to and from sessions.

Leverage Leadership School Leader Workshops

Register your team to learn the fundamentals of strong instructional systems based on the work of Paul Bambrick-Santoyo in his books, Leverage Leadership and Get Better Faster. These sessions – Observation and Feedback, Weekly Data Meetings, and Leading School Culture –  are ideal for anyone who coaches at least one teacher or who will be preparing to coach in the coming year.

These one-day trainings are delivered by fellows of the Leverage Leadership Institute, a select group of public school leaders with a proven track record of results.

Learn more here: Leadership Workshops for 2021-2022

Step 1

First, you may be nominated by one of our partner organizations. If your district does not have a partnership with Relay Leadership Programs, discuss this opportunity with your district/network leadership to secure approval to apply. See Admissions Criteria below for more information.


Step 2

Next, complete the Relay admissions application, which includes education and employment information. You'll also need to provide these materials: 

  • Resume
  • Short essay
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Student results

Apply Now

The Application for the 2021-2022 LLI Fellowship is now closed. Please consider applying for the next cohort starting in November 2021.

Leverage Leadership Institute
Admissions Criteria

The Leverage Leadership Institute is a selective fellowship opportunity for approximately 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.

Unofficial transcripts and evidence of student results are required as part of the application. Please begin working on compiling your student achievement outcomes and requesting your unofficial transcript 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 GSE will be given strong consideration for this program. Nominations should be sent to ksullivan@relay.edu.

Student Results Guidelines

COVID-19 has disrupted traditional data cycles and many states and countries have no test results from 2019-20. We also recognize that traditional data may not share all that our students are accomplishing. Share with us the data that you feel are the indicators of your success with students.
You might consider including:

  • Evidence that your students are thriving despite the current circumstances and have achieved the precise goals that you and your team have set;
  • 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 in the last one to three years. Please note that admissions decisions favor evidence of a trend of positive student impact over multiple years.
Celeste Douglas

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

Anetra Cheatham's Story

Anetra CheathamAnyone 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.”

“This year has been incredibly challenging for many reasons. The community that is built within the LLI cohort is special and makes me feel like I have a professional family that not only understands my daily challenges but works alongside me and my community to impact educational outcomes for kids.”

- LLI Fellow testimony

Colin Smith

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

Ready to Partner?

Are you ready to become a Relay partner? To learn more about our programs, complete our interest form.

Request Seats

If you are already a Relay partner, complete the seat request form to reserve spots in our leadership programs.