UCLA Education to Launch Women’s School Leadership Academy

Linda Rose, Ph.D., will guide new program to propel and support women in school leadership.

About 77 percent of teachers in America are women, and women account for more than seven in ten of all K-12 educators. But according to a survey from the American Association of School Administrators, more than three-quarters (77%) of school district superintendents are men.  While there are important examples of women playing leadership roles in education – Linda Darling Hammond as chair of the California Board of Education comes to mind – odds are that the top jobs are often held by a man. The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies is aiming to change those odds.

In January 2020, GSE&IS will launch a Women’s School Leadership Academy at UCLA to develop new knowledge and skills and provide meaningful encouragement and support to women already engaged in leadership roles in education, but who aspire to make a greater impact as a leader.

Linda Rose, Ph.D., former director of UCLA’s Educational Leadership Program (ELP), will lead the new Women’s School Leadership Academy. Photo by Todd Cheney, UCLA

“It is essential that more women leaders be instrumental in the critical decisions needed to improve student outcomes,” says Linda Rose, Ph.D., who will guide the new program. “This new effort will help women to leverage successful experiences and expertise into top leadership positions and serve as a cornerstone of ongoing support.”  

The Women’s School Leadership Academy will offer a ten-month program in educational leadership specifically to promote the success of women school leaders.  The program includes three two-day intensive sessions at UCLA and four Saturday morning classes. The program also includes four two-and one half-hour online sessions that will take place on Mondays over the 10 months. 

The program will explore critical strands in the lives of women school leaders including leading up and down, communicating for a social justice impact, and navigating public and private lives.  These strands will be informed by four themes:  leading as a woman; making decisions considering multiple perspectives; building relationships and cultivating mentors; and networking for career development. The program will also help candidates to refine their personal and professional goals and to build the capacity to impact their environment.  

“Many women in education are deeply engaged in the complex issues confronting schools and education organizations, but their voices are often left out when it comes to policy development and decision making,” says Rose. “One of the key goals of the program will be to provide a platform for the voices of women leaders in education.”  

Engaging a cohort of approximately 25 women education leaders, the academy will focus on issues of equity, inclusion, and access, and help women to build their capacity in communicating publicly about key issues facing education. The cohort will work together on cases and key projects and serve as resources for each other as they build the knowledge, networks, and systems necessary to achieve leadership positions where they can have the greatest impact. 

Working with academy instructors, including leading practitioners from Pre-K – Grade 12 education, members of the cohort will take part in case studies, text discussions, participant presentations, collaborative activities, and interviewing and reflection exercises. They will also hear from keynote speakers with expertise and demonstrated success in education and in other fields. Participants will assess their own leadership skills and knowledge and develop a strategic career plan and strategies to strengthen their individual effectiveness as an education leader.  

Over the course of the ten-month program, participants will work in small groups on deeply entrenched problems in their specific area, with the goal of developing actionable strategies for effective responses. 

“Women have such a wide variety of experiences and offer keen insight into the needs of our students, schools and educational systems, but too often their experiences and expertise have not been reflected in the decisions and leadership of our schools,” says Tina Christie, Chair of the Department of Education at UCLA. “The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies has long played a critical role in the development of educational leadership and we are tremendously excited to launch this unique new academy to build on the talent and abilities of women and foster leadership that not only helps their careers, but that make vital contributions that strengthen education and learning.” 

The inaugural session of the the Women’s School Leadership Academy will begin with a two-day intensive session on January 17, 2020. The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies is recruiting approximately 25 women already engaged in leadership roles to participate in the founding cohort.  Women with previous experience in educational settings who aspire to top positions of school leadership are encouraged to apply.  The online application will be available August 15, 2019. The deadline for application is November 1, 2019.

To attend the Women’s School Leadership Academy or for more information, contact Linda Rose and visit this link.