The Leader Institute has a deliberate focus on supporting leaders in both social-emotional development and diversity and inclusion dimensions. We know that school leaders drive the school’s vision and they are on the ground supporting teachers, students, families and communities. If we want students to be true citizens of the world, we need to ensure that all adults are also realizing their potential in the SED and DI dimensions.  Leader Institute will support leaders in addressing both adaptive and technical aspects of the work needed to consciously and authentically lead a diverse-by-design school. 

The Leader Institute creates cohorts of conscious and authentic leaders. It provides a supportive, reflective, and mindful environment to collaborate, learn, and grow together as they work toward launching their diverse-by-design school.  The primary output of this two-year institute will be to continue to lead or launch a diverse-by-design school by each fellow.  The Leader Institute is mindful that timelines for school launch will differ for each fellow.  Program outcomes will focus primarily on “The Four Corners” (CWC Model, Leadership Foundational Skills, Coalition Building, Personal Development) foundational aspects that CWC believes any leader requires in order to create, run, and thrive within a student-centered, equity-based school.

Fellows will engage in additional experiences, outside the convenings. These include book study, peer check-ins, and capstone projects.  All fellows will work with a coach that will offer customized support in the implementation of strategies, concepts, values, and beliefs covered in convenings as well as setting vision, strategy, and goals for their teams. 

Fellows will have the option to supplement their learning by participating in a quarterly CWC Learning Model series, giving a deeper insight into CWC learning theory and practices. Fellows will continue to work with their coach to further develop their learning model strategy and vision for their schools.

At the axis of the Institute’s design are the four corners (CWC Model, Leadership Foundational Skills, Coalition Building, Personal Development), what CWC believes are essential pieces of knowledge that leaders can attain, in order to anchor their schools in a set of pedagogical and cultural values.  The goal of all of this is to provide leaders the tools needed to provide their students with an empathetic, critical, and culturally relevant learning experience.

In between each convening, fellows will meet with a dedicated coach to discuss and review concepts and ideas they learned in their convening experience and provide participants with customized support as they implement key CWC strategies, concepts, values, and beliefs.  The coach will provide a designated time and space for participants to explore their beliefs, values, mindsets, and blindspots as they establish the vision, strategy, and goals for their teams.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the CWCS Leader Institute created?

We know that school leaders play an especially critical role in our CWC model. They are the vision holders for our learning philosophy and approach. They model and uphold the dispositions and culture we aim to grow. They forge and evolve the support systems that allow students, educators, and families to thrive. 

This institute was formed  to honor that unique and powerful role by establishing a robust learning community and suite of supports that enable principals to grow in their leadership and amplify their impact at their school sites. The programming and support were designed in a way for other non-CWC school leaders seeking to develop diverse, whole-child focused schools to build from the CWC model. 


Who participates in the CWCS Leader Institute? 

Current and aspiring leaders from Citizens of the World schools and school leaders working with external organizations such as  ‘New Schools for Alabama’.  Feel free to read about both of these networks here.

How is the CWCS Leader Institute different from some of the other leader institute programs and conferences that are offered?

In surveying other school leader trainings, supports, and incubators during a landscape analysis, we found a clear opportunity for programs that intentionally develop and integrate both social-emotional development and diversity and inclusion. This is a focus of our current schools and adult development that become the foundation of our Leader Institute.

Furthermore, the backbone of our learning model—both for students and for adults—is our Graduate Disposition framework, which represents 11 skills and habits we believe are required to thrive in leadership roles. We break these dispositions down into three groups: self—dispositions that they will possess internally, together—dispositions that they will display in relationship with others and within their communities, and world--qualities that they will display as they engage in the world at large.  We have invested in building a similar suite of indicators and tools to ensure that adults develop these capacities alongside their students.


Where will the Institute be held? What are the accommodations like? 

Leader Institute hosts a combination of virtual and in-person learning.  The four two-day convenings are held in person in different locations in Los Angeles  In between convenings, there is an arc of 1:1 coaching that takes place with each Fellow and a professional coach that CWCS has selected. This arc takes place on a monthly basis. 


Who is on the facilitation team for the Institute and who is the coach? 

We intentionally secure a diverse group of facilitators with specific expertise in key areas, that correlate to the aims of the Institute program and the competencies we seek to cultivate in Fellows. We have partnered with an experienced coach, Shawna Wells who currently carries out similar leadership support work at The Management Center.Please see the overview of our current Facilitation team here


How long has the Leader Institute been around?

Leader Institute was launched in 2019 as a pilot year with a smaller cohort of CWCS leaders, in order to test some key areas and curate the learnings needed to refine the program. During the 2020-2021 school year, we are currently serving Fellows from current CWCS schools and Fellows who are in their planning launch year, who will be opening both CWCS branded and non-CWCS diverse-by-design schools.   


What is the typical profile of a Fellow participating in the Institute?

The user groups that are most primed to succeed in this program are: 

i) Current CWC leaders in CWC schools or CWC leaders preparing to launch a new CWC school. Institute will allow these leaders to reground in the CWC vision, grow targeted skills to accelerate their professional growth, build an aligned team and community around this new vision, and clarify a roadmap for a strong school launch. 

ii) Leaders launching CWC-inspired schools or leaders running existing diverse schools. Leaders aspiring to develop schools built on a commitment to diversity and whole-child development are hungry to build from proven practices. These leaders need immersive exposure into the model, resources and tools they can leverage, and ongoing coaching/ support to adapt and apply the model in their context. We currently find many of these leaders come to us through local intermediaries who wish to connect local school founders with proven practices nationally.

There are schools across the country who are grappling with how to best support a newly diverse community. Leaders in these schools are looking for support both in how to evolve the school model, but also how to grow their own capacity to build a strong community grounded in diversity and inclusion.


"If you are lucky enough to be invited to participate in this leadership institute- don’t think twice. Say yes. It is an investment in yourself. It’s an incredible experience. I feel more connected to my peers, stronger sense of my identity as a leader and that I have a toolbox of resources to pull from.”  CWCS 19-20 Institute Fellow 

“This has been the most incredible experience! I have learned, cried, laughed, grown, experienced vulnerability, and have felt a true sense of togetherness and compassion throughout it all.” CWCS 19-20 Institute Fellow 

“The School Leader Institute is the most authentic, rigorous, luxurious professional development I’ve ever engaged in. Every retreat is a mini-vacation and you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated and inspired.” CWCS 19-20 Institute Fellow 

“This has been a very rejuvenating time for me. I feel the position that I am in affords me the space to address the necessary components of equity. This has helped me to begin to organize and prioritize my time better.” CWCS 20-21 Institute Fellow after Convening 1

“This was probably the best PD/Institute I experienced. I honestly have to admit I was doubtful and thought I was going to sit through a lot of "optimism talk" but today was so much deeper and meaningful than that. This is how sessions should be run, where people are leaving as better and more appreciated versions of themselves.” CWCS 20-21 Institute Fellow after Convening 1