Mastering Academy (formerly known as MLA Academy)

The overarching goal for the Mastering Academy is to promote the self-actualization of learning leaders through the continuous growth of themselves and their learning organizations to ensure schools of equity and excellence. As you can see from the testimonials below from this year’s Mastering Academy, participants are gaining support in many ways to deepen such leadership impact.


We first launched the Mastering Academy (formerly known as the Mastering Leadership Academy/MLA) in 2021-22 and to incredibly positive feedback:

100% of participants surveyed replying either "excellent" or "strongly agree" to the following questions as relevant:
1) The overall quality / helpfulness of MLA resources was ______.
2) The overall quality of workshop facilitation was _____.
3) I had the opportunity to network and learn with other colleagues.
4) The degree to which I was able to deepen understanding and means for strategic data-gathering in relation to my equity-based Problem of Practice was _____.
5) The overall quality of the MLA sessions was _____.
6) I would recommend the Mastering Leadership Academy to other school leaders interested in deepening their impact on all students they serve.
In this initial year, the Mastering Academy was only offered by invitation to Wisconsin leaders identified by the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research (WCER) as among Wisconsin’s most impactful principals due to the exemplary growth, gap closing, and/or achievement they had been able to lead and sustain over several years for students in their schools. Moving forward in 2022-23, input from our AWSA leadership commissions encouraged us to open this opportunity to all principals who possess the foundational skills from which to build.


Thus, for 2024-25 we are once again pleased to offer the Mastering Academy to those highly dedicated school leaders who EITHER:

  • Are identified by the WCER through multi-year student results as one of Wisconsin’s most impactful principals OR 

  • Strive to accomplish such results for all learners through prior participation in either the Building Academy (formerly BEL) or SAIL Academy.  

The Mastering Academy will build upon the foundation of learning leader knowledge and skills derived from these previous experiences.

Testimonials from previous Mastering Academy Participants:

  • My experience in this academy has genuinely improved my leadership ability.  Specifically, I have a framework for working on a problem of practice, I have a community of colleagues to collaborate with, I have additional resources to use with my staff to engage in the important work to be done, and I have additional self-care strategies for myself and to share with my staff.

  • This is by far the best professional development I have ever had.  I feel vulnerable but able to grow and learn from one another.  Absolutely awesome!

  • My problem of practice is much clearer because of this process. 

  • The focus of the academy is extremely timely and relevant to the work we are all facing as educators.  I appreciate the structure of our time together and I've already shared my takeaways with my superintendent!

  • I so appreciate the networking and sharing of our stories, barriers, and problems of practice with the diverse administrators in the room.  The reflective time is appreciated and valued as our jobs seldom leave much time for this reflection.

  • Such a quality experience that will impact the learning of me, my staff, and my students -- thank you!!  I always appreciate the staff care too, as I use these resources with my staff:)  They appreciate it as well!

  • I am very thankful to be a part of this great network of learners and leaders!  Each day feels better than the last; what a great journey and opportunity for reflection!  Thank you!

  • Excellent resources and professional learning opportunity; really challenged me to address my equity problem of practice through a different approach that I am not used to.

  • Why is the Mastering Academy so important?  Taking care of ourselves professionally; stepping away to do the work; listening to many different perspectives.  Listening to others helps us to have more clarity to our own problem of practice.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn and leverage the wisdom in the group to inform and assist leaders in addressing their biggest equity-based problem(s) of practice. 

  2. Utilize protocols that address relevant problems of practice and strategies for creating conditions/building capacity among all stakeholders.

  3. Explore the systemization of cycles of inquiry around culture, systems, and learning to exhibit self-actualized leadership.

  4. Learn how to unpack the School Leader Paradigm at the Dimension level to deepen understanding of masterful leadership and identify next edges of growth.

Leading Objectives:

  1. Network with other learning leaders in a collaborative cycle of inquiry that addresses a deep-seated problem of practice in our field.

  2. Advocate effectively, both locally and broadly, to gain support for continuous school improvement efforts that build equitable opportunities for all students.

  3. Contribute to one or more PLN as a thought leader in an area of professional passion/expertise.

  4. Deepen leadership legacy by mentoring/coaching one or more school leaders in their transformation journey.   


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

Dates and Locations:

This academy entails six full-day sessions on the dates and venues as follows over the course of the school year.

August 13 and 14, 2024 | Wisconsin School Leadership Center, 4797 Hayes Rd. Madison, WI 53704

November 20 and 21, 2024 | Ingleside Hotel, Pewaukee

March 4 and 5, 2025 | Hyatt Regency, Green Bay


Hotel Information:

August 13-14, 2024
Rooms available at the Hilton Garden Inn, Sun Prairie
Book Online

November 20-21, 2024
Ingleside Hotel
2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee
(262) 547-0201
Block expires: 10/20/24
Block name: AWSA Mastering Leadership Academy

March 4-5, 2025
Hyatt Regency
333 Main Street, Green Bay
Block expires: 2/10/25
Block name: AWSA – Mastering Leadership Academy
Book 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
A full refund of fees will be made on cancellations received by 8/9/24. Following that date, there will be no refund of registration fee. *

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

Payment is required at time of registration. If you cannot pay until July 1, please email [email protected] and we will register you.

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.