Leadership WSSDA

Over the past 18 years, nearly 200 school directors from around the state have completed the Leadership WSSDA program. Designed for school directors with at least two years of experience, Leadership WSSDA helps participants deepen their personal and professional capacity for leadership.

Participants will enjoy highly engaging, place-based learning that connects them with state and local leaders. Graduates of the program have become leaders at the state level themselves, serving on WSSDA committees, the WSSDA Board of Directors, and even in the Legislature. Ten graduates have gone on to become WSSDA presidents.

Take your leadership to the next level

The Leadership WSSDA program provides the time and framework to examine today’s most important education issues with other experienced school board members. There is very little lecture time. Participants will be up and moving, engaging with each other in one-on-one discussions, group activities, and actively learning. The curriculum may also include reading articles and books between classes to enrich discussion around current education and leadership topics.

For experienced board members

Leadership WSSDA is for school directors with at least two years of school board experience. Those with fewer than two years on their board are not eligible to apply for this program. Instead, newer school board members are encouraged to participate in WSSDA’s Board Boot Camp and OnBoard professional learning opportunities. Also, serving on a WSSDA committee is a great way to build experience.

2024 schedule and topics

Following the schedule below, participants will enjoy visits by expert speakers and field trips to facilitate in-depth learning. School directors admitted to the program will need to commit to all five sessions, though exceptions could occur in rare circumstances..

Here are the topics, dates and locations for every 2024 Leadership WSSDA session:

Leadership Defined
February 8-9
At the WSSDA office and Capitol Campus in Olympia 

Leadership for Influence
March 28-29
At the Lacey Hampton Inn & Suites and OSPI in Olympia

Leadership for All
May 30-31
At Walla Walla Public Schools, Walla Walla (tentative) 

Leadership for Change
September 12-13
At Highline Public Schools, Burien (tentative) 

Leadership for Life & Graduation from the Program
November 20-21 
At the Spokane Convention Center/Davenport Grand Hotel in conjunction with 2024 Annual Conference


The tuition of $1,200 covers the cost to run the program plus meals and snacks to keep participants energized. Tuition does not include the cost of travel and lodging.

Most 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.


If a registrant suddenly becomes unable to participate, 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.

2022 Leadership WSSDA

What graduates of the program 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.

How to apply

Sign up to be notifed when the next application window opens.

Congrats to our 2022 graduates

Tracy Morgan
Castle Rock School District

Kristina Mayer
Chimacum School District

Deborah Kilgore
Edmonds School District

Rob Perkins
Evergreen Public Schools

Trudy Davis
Federal Way School District

Leslie Hamada
Kent School District

Larry Otos
Mount Vernon School District

Jenn Stevenson
Othello School District

Lisa Rivera Smith
Seattle Public Schools

Nikki Lockwood
Spokane Public Schools

Jenny Slagle
Spokane Public Schools

Albert Schreiber
Stanwood-Camano School District

Jennifer McDonald
Steilacoom Historical School District 

Loujanna Rohrer
Steilacoom Historical School District

Sandra Linde
Sunnyside School District

Sherri Darrow
Toppenish School District

Laurie Stanton
White Salmon Valley School District

Norm Walker
Yakima School District


Contact Tricia Lubach or Christine Najarro.