National Institute for School Leadership

  • WHAT

    Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) will bring nationally acclaimed executive leadership development to experienced principals in Minnesota’s two urban districts. Working with Minneapolis schools, Minnesota Department of Education, and the University of Minnesota, SPPS has developed a partnership for professional development for sitting principals in both districts. The National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) curriculum is based on six years of research and design related to the most effective executive leadership programs worldwide.

    SPPS will also work with private funders, RKMC and Travelers. The NISL provides the core curriculum for the Minnesota Principals’ Academy. NISL's Executive Development Program was established to train school leaders to drive their schools to high performance. The program emphasizes the role of principals as strategic thinkers, instructional leaders, and creators of a just, fair, and caring culture in which all students meet high standards.

    This initiative expands Saint Paul’s leadership development partnerships. Saint Paul has a long history of preparing leaders through it Leadership Institute for Aspiring Principals. The Leadership Institute was made possible through generous grants from Robbins, Kaplan, Miller, and Ceresi, (RKMC). The Leadership Institute has benefited over 200 aspiring leaders. The majority of current principals and many district leaders are graduates of the Leadership Institute. This program will be provided on an alternative year basis beginning in the summer of 2011.



    Supporting principals with a quality executive development program that emphasizes the role of principal as strategic thinker, instructional leader, and creator of a just, fair, and caring culture in which all students meet high standards, will raise the proficiency of students in their schools.

    • Leadership, second only to classroom instruction, is one of the strongest predictors of student learning (Leithwood, Louis, Anderson and Wahlstrom, 2004; Burch and Spillane, 2003; Harris, Leithwood, Day and Sammons, 2007; and Leithwood and Janzi, 2006).
    • Leadership influences student learning through teacher effectiveness and student engagement (Harris et al., 2007).
    • The district has identified a goal of 10 percentage point gains in MCA proficiency rates for all students in reading and math.
    • NISL is designed to increase the skills and commitment of experienced principals to ensure all students graduate from high school ready for success in college and ultimately in a career of their choice.



    The NISL curriculum focuses on instructional leadership within a standards-based context, helping principals:

    • Develop strategic and systemic processes for sustained school improvement;
    • Empower instructional leadership teams;
    • Build and sustain a collaborative learning culture in their schools;
    • Coach teachers about how to use data in order to enrich classroom instruction;
    • Increase the effectiveness of student improvement plans; and
    • Create an ethical culture of high achievement.

    The course curriculum includes 14 units, two simulations, and at least one targeted Institute. Participants spend roughly two days of class time on each unit.



    Qualifications of Participants:

    • Has been a building principal a minimum of 2 years.
    • Has a proven skill set for implementing positive change in an organization.
    • Has demonstrated ability to improve student achievement.
    • Will commit to use the knowledge and skills developed at the Institute to increase student achievement and bring positive change to his/her school/department.
    • Will commit to fully engage in the Leadership Institute, attend all sessions, and complete all the work requirements of each session.
    • Priority will be given to leaders in at risk schools, i.e. schools in school choice and supplemental services. Expected commitment of a minimum of four additional years of continued service to current district.