Leadership WSSDA

This advanced leadership program is offered once every two years, and is designed for school directors with at least two years of school board experience. Newer board members are encouraged to participate in Board Boot Camp and OnBoard professional development opportunities.

For experienced school directors, Leadership WSSDA helps improve their expertise and leadership capacity within the K-12 educational system. Graduates have found that both their professional and personal lives have benefited from the experience.

How to apply

The next application period will open in November of 2023. At that time, please come back to this page to fill out the online application.

Take your leadership to the next level

Many education leaders have graduated from this program including nine WSSDA presidents, numerous WSSDA board and committee members, state board members and a number of legislators.

The Leadership WSSDA program provides the time and framework to examine today’s most important education issues with other experienced leaders. There is very little “lecture” time. Participants will be up and moving, engaged with each other, working in group activities, and actively learning. The curriculum may also include reading articles and books between classes to promote discussion around current education and leadership topics.

The program occurs every other year and includes visits by expert speakers and several field trips to facilitate in-depth learning. Participants will meet five times throughout the year.

Dates, times, locations and topics

This rigorous program is designed to fit the busy schedules of school directors with Thursday afternoon to Friday class sessions. Thursday sessions generally run from 1:00-7:30 p.m., resuming on Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Participants will need to commit to all five sessions to be accepted into the program. Four two-day sessions are held around the state with the final session and graduation at WSSDA’s Annual Conference in November.

Here is the schedule for the 2022 Leadership WSSDA program topics and locations:

Leadership Defined
February 10-11
At WSSDA office and OSPI in Olympia 

Leadership for Influence
April 7-8 
At the WSSDA office and Capital Campus in Olympia

Leadership for All
June 2-3
In eastern Washington (tentative) 

Leadership for Change
September 22-23
In southwestern Washington (tentative) 

Leadership for Life & Graduation from the Program
November 15-16 
At the Spokane Convention Center/Davenport Grand Hotel in conjunction with 2022 Annual Conference


Tuition of $1,000 includes the cost to run the program plus meals and snacks during the sessions. Tuition does not include the cost of travel and lodging. Half of tuition (50%) is refundable following the first session and prior to the second session. After the second session, no refunds will be given. Many school districts fully or partially cover the costs for school directors to participate in Leadership WSSDA as part of their investment in the board’s professional development.

Scholarships may be available for those whose school district does not fund their participation. Please indicate this need on the application.

More information

Contact Tricia Lubach or Christine Najarro from WSSDA’s Leadership Development team if you have questions.

Congrats to our 2019 Leadership WSSDA Graduates

  • Melissa Beard, Tumwater
  • Mark Duncan, McCleary
  • Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island
  • Stanley Holland, Orting
  • Clara Jimenez, Toppenish
  • Cindy Kelly, Port Angeles
  • Liza Klumpar, Eatonville
  • Ruth Ladderud, Walla Walla
  • Ron Mabry, Kennewick
  • Neal Martin, Republic
  • Kelli Melhus, St. John
  • Jill Oldson, Richland
  • Craig Patty, North Mason

Get more information

Contact Tricia Lubach or Christine Najarro from WSSDA’s Leadership Development team if you have questions or if you would like to be added to our list to contact when registration opens.

What Leadership WSSDA grads say

I learned so much from stories and experiences shared by my fellow class members. It was also an affirmation of my growth realizing that I had experiences and knowledge to share as well.

The most valuable aspect of Leadership WSSDA was the relationships built during our time together. They have had a lasting impact me.

The guest speakers were a most special treat, as they had a tremendous wealth of knowledge and wisdom from decades of experience to share.

Leadership WSSDA has value for everyone, whether you’ve been a director for two years or twenty.  One of the most encouraging things for me was to learn that other districts face problems similar to the ones we have in our district, and to share solutions together.

The greatest benefit for me was the connections I made with education leaders from all over the state. When I have a question or need information, I have an experienced and knowledgeable resource base from which to draw.