Applications Open for 2020-2021 District Leadership Fellows

The 2020-2021 cohort of the District Leadership Fellows is now accepting applications. Given concerns for health and safety, the program is moving online for the coming year.


The SMU District Leadership Fellows program is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 cohort.  This strengths-based leadership development program aims to enhance the leadership abilities of superintendents and executive district leaders through an intensive year-long cohort experience.

As part of the program, participants will: 

  • Receive individual leadership assessments and coaching 
  • Engage in monthly reflection on personal leadership growth and receive feedback from SMU faculty 
  • Meet online with a diverse cohort of peers 
  • Craft a strategy for a district project 

Leading Through the COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19 is presenting leaders with new and unexpected challenges, and school districts require strong and focused leadership so that children continue to learn while communities remain safe.  Next year, the program will specifically focus the work of the cohort around addressing the ramifications of COVID-19 school closures, even while maintaining a focus on the core fundamentals of creating impact.

District Leadership Fellows October 2019
District Leadership Fellows share insights.

Key Program Components:

  • Peer network building. Participants network with and learn from a diverse cohort of peers in similarly situated districts.
  • Leadership support. Participants engage with peers, SMU faculty, and public education professionals to receive personalized feedback and hone their leadership skills.
  • Personal strengths. Evidence-based strengths assessments are used to help participants further enhance their leadership skills.
  • Applied learning. Participants apply what they have learned to a capstone project focused on a real-world challenge within their districts.


Superintendents and executive district leaders who report directly to the superintendent are invited to apply. In a midsize to larger district, executive district leaders might include an assistant superintendent, while in a small district it may include the director of instruction or the high school principal.

Program Timeline:

May 1, 2020Applications open

August 28, 2020 – Application Deadline Extended to August 28

June – July, 2020 – Interviews and Selection

August, 2020 – Initial coaching session (online)

September 2020 to May 2021 – Cohort Meetings (online for health and safety)

Superintendents work with Dr. Eric G. Bing during a leadership strengths session.
Superintendents work with Dr. Eric G. Bing during a leadership strengths session.

Program Fee


Nominations and applications:

Know someone who would be a great fit for the program?  Nominate them here.  Interested in joining the cohort?  Complete your application here.

More information:

Download the flyer, visit the Institute for Leadership Impact website, email us at or call 214-768-4359.

Create Impact in Your Organization
The Institute for Leadership Impact serves schools and social impact organizations of all sizes.  We offer an array of experiential, individual, and team-based leadership experiences and simulations to strengthen your team and support your growth as a leader.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website, email us at, and engage with us on Twitter.



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