Mastering Leadership Academy

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The overarching goal for the MLA 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 MLA, participants are gaining support in many ways to deepen such leadership impact.

We first launched the Mastering Leadership Academy (MLA) in 2021-22. In this initial year, the MLA 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, input from our AWSA leadership commissions encourages us to open this opportunity to all principals who possess the foundational skills from which to build.

Therefore, we are pleased to offer the MLA 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 BEL Academy or SAIL Academy.  

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

Testimonials from 2021-22 MLA 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 MLA 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.   

Cost and Locations


$599 for AWSA members and $860 for non-members

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

Aug. 10 and 11, 2022 – Hyatt Regency/KI Center, Green Bay
overnight information: $130/single; (920) 432-1234; LINK; block name: AWSA - Mastering Leadership Academy; block expires 7/19/22

Nov. 16 and 17, 2022 – Fluno Center, Madison
overnight information: $149/single; (877) 773-5866; [email protected]; block name: Mastering Leadership Academy (MLA); block expires 10/16/22

March 8 and 9, 2023 – Ingleside Hotel, Waukesha
overnight information: $115/single; (262) 547-0201; block name: Mastering Leadership Academy; block expires 2/5/23


Other Information:

Cancellation Policy: Full refund of fees will be made on cancellations received 10 days prior to the start of the convention. Following that date, a 40% administrative fee will be retained. There will be no refund for no-shows or cancellations during the event. 

Accessibility: 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 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.