Building Academy (formerly known as BEL Academy)

Due to the incredibly busy nature of the work, it is very easy for an administrator to be a principal who “runs a school” without ever becoming a learning leader who is developing a learning organization. And that’s concerning because our schools and communities don’t just need building managers, but also learning leaders (those who are able to cultivate the culture and systems of a learning organization over time) if we are to significantly make headway on our commitment to the success and well-being of every student under our care.

In response, the Building Academy (formerly known as the BEL Academy) is focused on not just helping a leader survive in the role, but rather thrive as an effective and balanced learning leader who is developing a learning organization. 

Essentially, the purpose of the Building Academy is to help educational leaders become better versions of themselves so that schools get the learning leaders they need.

What Past Participants Have Said About the Building Academy:

  • Through my participation in this Academy, I feel that I am more energized and purposeful in my role as a building leader. I continue to work on growing and strengthening my skills as a learning leader focused on the impact we are having on student learning and achievement. The Building Academy has helped me to do that as it provided structures and tools for continuous improvement that are able to be implemented immediately.
  • Through participation in the Building Academy, I have learned to be much more intentional as a leader with my time, energy, and resources. This experience has moved my school and me forward already in a short time and will have a lasting impact in the years to come.  It was absolutely outstanding and I would recommend it to any aged leader.
  • Through my participation in the Building Academy, I was able to gain more balance in my life allowing me to improve my ability to serve as a learning leader in my school.
  • Through my participation in the Building Academy, I made significant progress in being able to live out actions toward being an effective leader, an efficient manager AND a whole human being. While this work is an ongoing journey of improvement, because of this Academy, I know I have the skills and tools to be an impactful leader.
  • Through my participation in the Building Academy, I was able to connect with peers from around the state who have experienced and understood the challenges that I go through in my role as a building administrator. I appreciated the honesty and vulnerability of everyone in the group as we grew both personally and professionally.  I would highly recommend this academy to any building administrator as a great way to regain focus, prioritize our "big rocks,” and live and lead with intention.
  • I recommend the Building Academy because it provides you with resources, a PLN, and a plan to take with you.  Joe and Tammy are great at what they do, and their ideas will be utilized by me for years to come.
  • The Building Academy is a must for any building leader. The resources provided, the skill development, and the networking is very helpful while being thoughtfully presented.  In a world with many professional development opportunities, this is at the top of the list because it is directly applicable to building-level work.
  • I recommend the Building Academy because it provides you the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals, helps you map out and plan sustainable and actionable goals, and provides an intentional focus on our purpose as educational leaders
Among the Reasons for Joining the Building Academy:
  • This Academy launches in late summer, allowing you the opportunity to ready your plans and thinking from the opening Building Academy sessions in time for the fall semester.
  • Participants have a minimum three coaching sessions with Academy facilitators to support applications of Academy learning and plans.
  • Typically, 100% of Building Academy participants surveyed rated the Academy as “excellent” or “above average” in: 
         A) the degree to which the academy met their expectations and
         B) the degree to which they would recommend this Academy to an administrator interested in becoming a more impactful learning leader.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Clarify and integrate who you are and what you do to maximize your purpose as a learning leader.
  2. Gain means for effectively addressing complex issues of school culture using the School Leader Paradigm.
  3. Identify key school stakeholders to develop shared, distributed leadership.
  4. Expand your toolbox for leading deep systems change to improve learning through shared, distributed leadership. 
  5. Leverage your professional network (PLN) to provide inspiration and support ongoing transformation. 

Leading Objectives:

  1. Apply cycles of inquiry to the most critical problems of practice in your school so that you can leverage results and model the life of continuous growth as a learning leader developing a learning organization.
  2. Operationalize time and process management techniques into a high-impact weekly calendar that promotes proactive leadership.
  3. Refine key shared leadership structures in the school.
  4. Deepen your legacy by developing knowledge and skill in growth-focused supervision and critical conversations.
  5. Embed habits and disciplines of self-care that help you lead an effective and sustainable career without losing your wholeness as a human being.


$660 for AWSA members and $945 for non-members

Dates and Locations:

Cohort 1

August 6-7, 2024 | The Lismore, Eau Claire

November 6-7, 2024 | Hilton Garden Inn, Sun Prairie

February 18-19, 2025 | Ingleside Hotel, Pewaukee

A full refund of fees will be made on cancellations received by 7/31/24. Following that date, there will be no refund of registration fee. *

Cohort 2: Milwaukee-Area 

July 24-25, 2024

November 13-14, 2024

March 26-27, 2025

Location: Homewood Suites by Hilton, 1900 W. Creekside Crossing Cr. Oak Creek, WI
A full refund of fees will be made on cancellations received by 7/18/24. Following that date, there will be no refund of registration fee. *


Hotel Information:

August 6-7, 2024
The Lismore
333 Gibson St, Eau Claire
(715) 835-8888 (0)
Block name: AWSA Building Effective Leadership Academy
Book Online; Block expires 7/5/24

November 6-7, 2024
Hilton Garden Inn
1220 S Grand Ave, Sun Prairie
(608) 856-4500
Corporate ID number- N3291980
Rate TBD; Book Online
Tax exempt certificates are to be presented at time of check-in. 

February 18-19, 2025
Ingleside Hotel
2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee
(262) 547-0201
Event Name: AWSA Building Effective Leadership
$119; Block expires 1/18/25

July 24-25, 2024
Homewood Suites by Hilton
1900 W Creekside Crossing Circle, Oak Creek
(414) 375-4640
King Suite $159
Block expires 6/23/24
Block name: AWSA July 2024 Book Online

November 13-14, 2024
Homewood Suites by Hilton
1900 W Creekside Crossing Circle, Oak Creek
(414) 375-4640
King Suite $119
Block expires: 10/13/24
Block name: AWSA November 2024 Book Online

March 26-27, 2025
Homewood Suites by Hilton
1900 W Creekside Crossing Circle, Oak Creek
(414) 375-4640
King Suite $119
Block expires 2/23/25
Block name: AWSA March 2025Book Online


Other Information:

Event cancellation or Postponement
AWSA reserves exclusive right to modify, postpone/reschedule or cancel programs for any reason, including but not limited to emergency, inclement weather or other acts of God. If there is an event cancellation, every attempt will be made to reschedule and registration fees will be applied to the reschedule event dates. In the unlikely event of cancellation of an event, including inclement weather, the liability of AWSA is limited to the return of paid registration fees minus actual expenses. Cancellations of travel reservations and hotel reservations made directly with the hotel are the responsibility of the attendee.

Academy Cancellation Policy
Refund fees retained by AWSA pay for your food guarantees, a/v equipment, meeting room rental and any hotel attritions caused by the cancellation.

Dietary Disclaimer
AWSA makes every effort to accommodate basic dietary needs such as vegetarian, gluten-free and basic food allergies. AWSA does not assume liability for adverse reactions to food consumed or items one may come into contact with while eating at an AWSA event. 

For questions about accessibility or to request special assistance during the event, please contact Kathy Gilbertson at [email protected]. Three weeks advance notice is required to allow us to provide seamless access. If you need to cancel the special request this must be done at least 3 working days prior to the start of the event. See registration cancellation policy on the event’s web page for how to cancel your conference registration.

Questions? For questions on registration, payment, or general information please call the AWSA offices at 608-241-0300.