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New for the 2023-2024 school year, EdLeader21 Network members can choose to be a part of Leader Labs, an add-on experience that will allow participants to gather in communities for the purpose of professional growth around these timely topics:

Focus areas were chosen in response to feedback we heard from school system leaders during our nationwide “We’re Listening” campaign.

What is a Leader Lab professional learning experience?

Leader Labs are collaborative, deep-dive professional learning experiences that explore a focused area.

  • The communities will meet for four (4) virtual sessions. 
  • Participants will walk away from each lab experience with a systemwide action plan.

All sessions are from 12 p.m. - 3 pm ET

  • November 17, 2023 | Session #1 (virtual)
  • December 15, 2023 | Session #2 (virtual)
  • January 17, 2024 | Session #3 (virtual)
  • February 23, 2024 | Session #4 (virtual) 

What can participants expect in each four-part learning experience?

  • Discover: Participants will have the opportunity to discover interesting and relevant research.  
  • Collaborate: Join other EdLeader21 members in collaborating through various breakout group discussions.
  • Share: Participants will be encouraged to share their Portrait experience and best practices.
  • Reflect: Engage in reflection about your district’s transformation journey and integrating what you are learning into your next steps.
  • Activate: Each district team will create a personalized action plan to implement in their district.


  • $1,500 per Lab per person.   

  • Teams of five: $6,000. Each additional person is $1,000.



How does storytelling help motivate and inspire your community to rally around your district’s vision—the Portrait of a Graduate?

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The Science of Storytelling: Influence, Inspire, Transform

Whether your school district is just beginning the Portrait of a Graduate process, prepping to launch it to your various audiences, or looking to build momentum around the Portrait in practice, communications is a critical element to bring the vision to life. More importantly, storytelling should be central to your work in system transformation.  

Storytelling can be effective to teach, inspire, influence, and transform. In fact, there is research-based science that shows storytelling triggers brain responses that affect both our mental and physical makeups. Stories are proven to motivate and change minds. Storytelling can raise awareness of your district’s locally developed vision—the Portrait of a Graduate—and bring it to life within your buildings and in your community.

The Communications Leader Lab is designed for any district-level administrators whose effectiveness relies on strong and strategic communication. It is especially of value to those individuals and/or teams leading the district’s communications efforts.  

Participants in this Leader Lab will:

  • Explore valuable research and discover more about the science of storytelling and its importance in your school district’s transformation journey;
  • Develop audience personas that are key to amplifying the stories around your Portrait of a Graduate;
  • Discover the Portrait to Practice Storytelling Framework that can be deployed at key points in your district’s transformation journey;
  • Build your district’s transformation story to bring the Portrait of a Graduate to life and influence collective change;
  • Identify and develop your district’s storytelling action plan based on where you are at in the transformation journey.

Who Should Join? 

  • Public Information Officers 
  • Chief Communication Officers 
  • Community Relations Directors
  • Central Office Leaders

Facilitators: Shane Haggerty, APR, Managing Director, Marketing & Communications, and Scott Wortman, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications 




People are the most important part of your system – so how are you reimagining human capital in the 21st century?

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Reimagining Human Capital to Support 21st Century, Deeper Learning

In an era where education is evolving rapidly to meet the demands of the 21st century and significant talent shortages, it is crucial for educational leaders to rethink and reshape their human capital systems. Designed to empower districts and educational institutions, the Human Capital Leader Lab offers an innovative and immersive workshop to create a robust human capital management system tailored to local needs.

Participants in this transformative Leader Lab will embark on a dynamic journey of exploration, collaboration, and strategic planning. Guided by expert facilitators, dive deep into the intricacies of the four core areas of a comprehensive human capital management system: Align, Find, Grow, and Keep. Through interactive sessions, engaging discussions, and practical exercises, participants will gain the knowledge and tools necessary to reimagine their human capital systems to foster 21st-century, deeper learning.

Participants in this Leader Lab will:

  • Identify the competencies that will help deliver on a vision for 21st century, deeper learning and be introduced to the Portrait of an Educator process.
  • Refine practices for recruiting and hiring top talent.
  • Create dynamic onboarding experiences that engage new employees in the district’s instructional vision.
  • Develop strategies to foster employee engagement and wellbeing.
  • Explore resources to promote an inclusive & equitable environment that supports a diverse workforce.
  • Leave with a clear and actionable three-year plan to improve your people systems.

Who Should Join? 

  • Human Resource Directors
  • Business Operations Directors 
  • Central Office Leaders 

Facilitators: Tony Bagshaw, Chief Learning Officer, and Alyson Nielson, Vice President




What does a principal need to know and do to bring the Portrait of a Graduate to life for every student? 

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Deeper Learning Leadership: Reimagining Transformative Leadership Practices


District leaders play a pivotal role in driving transformative change and fostering deeper learning experiences within schools. Designed specifically for these visionary school leaders, the Leader21•Principal Leader Lab offers a unique and immersive workshop aimed at developing the essential leadership skills necessary to actively promote and scale deeper learning.

This dynamic learning experience is designed for educators that have a clear vision for 21st-century learning and are committed to fostering deeper educational experiences for students. Participants of Leader21•Principal will engage in a journey of self-reflection and exploration, examining their leadership practices across the four domains of our Leadership Framework: Leading yourself, leading the organization, leading others, and leading the learning. Participants will develop a deep understanding of key shifts necessary to create an environment where all learners—students and educators—become active and engaged, prepared for success in school and beyond.

The goal is to emerge as empowered and transformative leaders, equipped with the skills and insights to drive 21st-century, deeper learning within their schools and systems. They will leave with an action plan, practical strategies, and a network of like-minded leaders to support their ongoing growth and development.

Participants in this Leader Lab will:

  • Identify and refine leadership practices with immediate practical application to support educators in designing and implementing deeper learning experiences. 
  • Receive tools for reflection and implementation to support educators.
  • Explore techniques for effective communication, coaching, and feedback.
  • Engage in a transformative journey of self-reflection and exploration, critically examining individual leadership practices.
  • Explore strategies to enhance leadership presence, resilience, and ethical decision-making, laying a strong foundation for the leadership journey.
  • Develop a deep understanding of how to create an environment where students become active, engaged learners, prepared for success in the 21st century.
  • Leave with a clear and actionable plan to reimagine transformative leadership practices.

Who Should Join? 

  • Principals/Assistant Principals
  • Aspiring Principals/Teacher Leaders
  • Supervisors/Coaches of School Principals

Facilitator: Shannon King, PhD, Chief Learning Officer



How can school systems support the well-being of students, teachers, and staff?

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Fostering Hope, Belonging, and Engagement in 21st Century, Deeper Learning

In May of 2023, the National Center for Education Statistics released its annual Report on the Condition of Education in the US. The report highlights the growing challenges education systems across the nation face today as they support the well-being of students and staff. Over 70% of schools across the nation reported an increase in students requesting mental health services -and only 12% of schools strongly agreed that they are equipped to support well-being needs. 


Participants will engage in the latest research in the sciences of hope, belonging, and engagement – explore how they’re connected to well-being – and learn why they’re essential for deeper learning experiences! This Leader Lab experience is designed to provide education system leaders with practical implementation resources as well as insights from other education system leaders for planning & building systemwide capacity to support the overall well-being of students & staff.  


No matter where your district is on its journey to intentionally support the well-being of students and staff, this Leader Lab offers a unique experience to learn from other network members as you plan the next steps for your district.  


Participating districts will also gain access to The Student Experience21 suite of tools at no additional cost. These tools have been thoughtfully designed to elevate student voice to identify and replicate powerful educator practices that build hope, belonging, and engagement in 21st century learning. Participants will be guided through considerations for their optional use of the tools throughout this Leader Lab experience.  


Each participating district will develop an implementation action plan, considering timelines, audiences, and resources needed to scale and build capacity.


Participants in this Leader Lab will:

  • Emerge with a deeper understanding of hope, belonging, and emotional engagement – and why they matter! 
  • Explore the connections and reciprocity between hope, belonging, and engagement. 
  • Learn practical strategies for cultivating overall well-being.   
  • Identify strategic alignment with hope, belonging, and engagement to the skills & attributes in the district’s Portrait of a Graduate to ensure cohesion and alignment with the district’s vision for 21st century, deeper learning. 
  • Develop an implementation action plan for scaling the learning and well-being support for students and staff through the sciences of hope, belonging, and engagement.   

    Who Should Join? 

    • Superintendents/Assistant Superintendents
    • Principals/Assistant Principals
    • Central Office Leaders
    • Teacher Leaders

    Facilitators: Jamie Meade, Vice President & Chief of Staff, Beth Silveira, Senior Director, and Sara Stockwell, Senior Director




    Join us this fall for one, two, or all four Leader Lab professional learning experiences.

    Questions? Please contact Heather, your membership concierge.  

    Not an EdLeader21 Network member? Contact Jeff at to learn more and join.