Go to Top

CEELO Leadership Academy


To ensure improved learning outcomes for young children, leaders need skills, knowledge, and dispositions to effectively navigate and promote program and system goals. State early education administrators vary in their leadership and management competencies, yet scant attention has been given to preparing and developing their leadership skills. The CEELO Leadership Academy is designed to address this gap.

Presentation by CEELO staff and Leadership Academy Alumni at the 2016 Preschool Development Grantees and Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grantees Annual Meeting held November 18, 2016 in Arlington, Virginia.

  • Breaking the Mold: Leadership for Early Learning Impact examines the need for new approaches to leadership and initiatives currently underway throughout many RTT-ELC and PDG states and communities to cultivate effective, inspirational B – 3rd leaders, often with the support of national partners. As State birth to third grade (B – 3rd) early development and learning systems evolve, leadership has become ever more critical. The shift from accountability and compliance to leadership for innovation and excellence places new demands on community, state, and federal systems and organizations which recognize that many existing structures, approaches and tools are not always suited to fostering and supporting new leaders. CEELO staff were joined by Leadership Academy Cohort 2 Fellows Tracye Strichik (AL), Bryan Stokes (IL) and Tracy Jost (MD).


The design of the Academy is based on Building Capacity Through an Early Education Leadership Academy, the policy brief from Dr. Stacie Goffin commissioned by CEELO. The paper incorporates information gathered from a broad survey of leadership needs among state early learning specialists, along with targeted interviews with specialists at varied levels of leadership within their agencies and organizations.

The CEELO Leadership Academy is designed to strengthen leadership and management competencies of individuals with responsibilities for early childhood education programs in state departments of education (SEAs), early learning agencies and other state early childhood education agencies. The Academy will introduce concepts of leadership development tailored to state early education administrators designed to:

  • Build SEA leadership and management capacity to advance state agency visions for early childhood education.
  • Improve effectiveness of publicly-funded programs for children from birth through age five
  • Advance SEA policies and initiatives that improve Kindergarten through third grade teaching and learning opportunities
  • Partner with state leaders and organizations to build a more unified, equitable, and efficient state birth through third grade early childhood system.

The yearlong CEELO Leadership Academy includes four in-person sessions, interim online learning opportunities, and intensive coaching for each fellow.