Learn to Lead


Learn to Lead’s goal is to grow future Principals who can lead for positive change in our schools and communities. Learn to Lead wants to ensure that aspiring Principals develop the tools to be an effective school leader and change agent for the rest of their careers.

Please click here for application information.

Program Overview

The Learn to Lead Program supports the DPS strategic priority of Great Teachers and Leaders in Every School to ensure every student succeeds. This program is designed for the experienced educator who possesses leadership qualities and wants to continue to build knowledge, skills, and abilities toward the principalship. During the Learn to Lead year, participants work alongside their principal who offers mentoring, access to essential leadership experiences, and support toward achieving their career goals. The resident is expected to take ownership over their own leadership development by:

  • Participating in the design, implementation, and evaluation of growth documented on an Leadership Growth Plan
  • Actively engaging in cohort learning experiences
  • Demonstrating effective leadership through design and implementation of various performance tasks
  • Responding to feedback from ongoing formative assessments to demonstrate continuously improving performance in the school context
  • Taking on a progressive release of responsibility through “shadow experiences” and a two week-long “Acting Principal” experience

The Residency

There are different opportunities available for engaging in the Learn to Lead Residency. We will work with you and your direct supervisor throughout the application process to select the best residency option for you.

  • Resident (Option 1): Participants stay in their current school role, shift responsibilities and activities to create opportunities for strengthening professional practice and engage in the residency cohort and learning experiences. The participant may have the option of continuing in this role beyond the residency year.
  • Resident Fellow (Option 2): Participants “switch” school placements with another participant to gain experience in a new school context and with a different style of leadership. The participant may have the option of continuing in this role beyond the residency year.

Program Format

The program takes place over one academic year. During that time, residents will work side-by-side with a host principal and learn through daily experiences with real-time feedback. All residents will take part in:

  • Summer Institute
  • Bi-monthly cohort sessions focused on values-based leadership content that is aligned to the DPS School Leadership Framework
  • Six full day leadership lab visits to experience leadership in a variety of contexts
  • Retreat days (September)
  • Three leadership labs with instructional superintendents
  • A two week-long “Acting Principalship” in January