Participants in a previous Summer Leadership Institute take part in team building exercise.
What they’re saying about ACSA’s Summer Leadership Institute
April 24, 2023
ACSA’s Principals’ Summer Leadership Institute has been called a life-changing professional development experience for new and aspiring principals.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what last year’s participants said they valued most about this weeklong summer learning tradition held at the UCLA campus.
Team Leaders
Participants are grouped into teams based on their experience and position. Each team has a Team Leader, an experienced administrator who guides participants to reflect on the content and how it applies to their school site. Participants called their Team Leaders “engaging,” “energetic” and “fun,” and commended their ability to balance heavy topics with moments of levity.
  • “Her candor and vulnerability made it easy to trust her guidance through experience. I also appreciated that she gave us all her contact info and encouraged us to keep in touch.”
  • “She created an environment of safety and trust so we could openly discuss questions and topics without risk of judgment.”
  • “In our profession, being able to hear from someone who has lived and been in our position but also is able to provide the perspective from a director standpoint [is important].”
Sharing experiences
In smaller groups, attendees are able to share their own experiences and hear different viewpoints from their peers. Participants said it was good to know they weren’t alone in the challenges facing site administrators.
  • “Our team felt like a family at the end of the week.”
  • “It was like therapy! Being able to debrief and be around admin. who just went through what we all did during the pandemic was very much needed.”
  • “We were all APs aspiring to be principals, which made it relatable. We could share stories, give advice and share knowledge.”
Participants experience inspiring and thought-provoking speakers who address relevant topics for principals, such as building school culture, staff morale, discipline and communication. This year, faculty members include:
  • Don Vu
  • Michelle Trujillo
  • Tovi Scruggs-Hussein
  • Jon Gordon
  • Erin Kominsky
  • Justin Baeder
  • Jeff Eben
Participants at last year’s institute said presenters were “engaging” “inspiring” and “real” while sharing applicable tools they can start using at their sites right away.
  • “This information completely transformed my plans for the upcoming school year, gave me ideas and inspiration that make me excited to start in August! I can’t wait to use her ideas and strategies with my school staff.”
  • “This gave me a lens with which to discuss equity and access with my staff in terms of student expectations and discipline.”
  • “It was an amazing experience and I have already used the material and ideas presented to my staff as we gear up for the fall.”
Re-energize for next year
Summer Leadership Institute provides vital time for principals to focus on rejuvenating their practice for the coming year.
  • “I am feeling very motivated and excited about the upcoming year. I will be working on my personal mission statement and school vision.”
  • “I truly feel like I have a strong and clear vision and focus for my school site after attending. I am excited to start the school year with confidence and a better understanding of what it takes to truly lead a school and not just manage it.”
  • “This past year has been the hardest year for me. My character was attacked and I really felt like leaving the profession. After this time my spirit and passion for the job has been renewed. I know I don’t stand alone in these feelings and feel like I have people outside my district to lean to. I recommend this for every administrator!”
Summer Leadership Institute
What: Five days of intensive leadership development for principals and those aspiring to the role. When: June 26-30, 2023 Where: UCLA Cost: $1,999 ACSA member early bird rate (ends May 29) Register:
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