Leadership Strategies for Successful Schools

Maximize Your Impact as a School Leader

School leaders face significant pressures and challenges while leading schools in today’s uncertain world and our shifting educational landscape. This unique learning experience offers school leaders the chance to enhance their management capabilities to more effectively navigate those challenges. You will leave the program with a leadership toolkit and practical frameworks you can put to use immediately. Expert faculty from Kellogg and Northwestern, along with seasoned education sector practitioners, will share insights in a combination of lectures, small group sessions and interactive exercises.

Topical and highly interactive, you will leave this program energized as a leader, empowered with a broader perspective, and equipped with tools to support the goals you have for staff and students as well as the broader community your school serves.

We offer a school-specific leadership program each summer on a two-year cycle. Attend Building Leadership Capacity: Foundations for Strong Schools in an odd year and Leadership Strategies for Successful Schools in an even year.

The next session of this program will run Summer 2020.

Center for Nonprofit Management

Learn how to lead and serve a diverse group of stakeholders


Who Should Attend

  • Superintendents, Heads of Schools, Deans, Principals, Assistant/Associate Principals, Lead Teachers
  • School Senior Leadership Teams (special pricing available for teams of participants)
  • Board members

Key Benefits

  • Develop tools to manage challenges and balance priorities; build decision-making and prioritization skills
  • Build a strong and sustainable school culture that reinforces your mission
  • Learn new ways to sustain motivation amongst your teachers and staff
  • Use data to inform decision-making and prioritize best practices
  • Learn new methods to lead and mobilize your team through intentional communication

Program Content

Generating better ideas with your team

  • We often focus on outcomes, but it is people who develop, modify and implement ideas to get the best outcomes
  • This fun and dynamic session will help you develop new strategies for generating ideas with your team, and for using creativity in problem solving
  • Relatable and useful for any organization, this session takes into account group dynamics in education and offers real examples for immediate applicability

Building unbiased decision making processes

  • School leaders make important decisions every day that impact kids, teachers, families and communities
  • All of us sometimes fall prey to psychological and sociological traps that hinder effective decision making
  • In this engaging and interactive session participants will learn new strategies to build better decision-making processes and apply the strategies in real time
  • Participants will also gain insight into how to analyze group decision making processes

Courageous conversations: overcoming organizational silence

  • A culture of courageous communication is an essential ingredient of high performance schools
  • When people do not feel free to discuss some of the most significant issues they face employee engagement and productivity can decrease
  • This session identifies ways leaders can build a culture of courageous communication, leading to increased motivation and performance
  • Participants will have a chance to workshop their own upcoming real courageous conversations

Sustaining motivation in yourself and others

  • In this session, you will learn a model for motivation that can be applied to both yourself and your team
  • Gain clarity about your unique leadership skills, values, strengths and limitations
  • Walk away with tools to help you sustain yourself in your role as a school leader
  • Discover practical ways to keep up newly desired behaviors when old habits are still there

Path to excellence: using data to identify and spread promising practices

  • Learn how to develop a clear set of measurable outcomes and indicators for your school
  • Begin designing a continuous improvement project you’ll take back to your school
  • Apply performance measurement and continuous improvement to your work even when resources and technology are limited

Leadership communication frameworks

  • School communications have many variables and can be incredibly complex
  • This session will transform a complex set of considerations to a simple model for intentional communication
  • Learn from real world examples where communications have gone wrong despite the best of intentions and apply the model to see where communications got off track
  • You will be able to use this communication model to distribute lessons learned across the program to maximize the impact of your learning


Amy Stewart Smith - Academic Director; Director of Nonprofit Executive Programs

Michelle L. Buck - Clinical Professor of Leadership, Kellogg School of Management

Shana Carroll - Clinical Associate Professor of Management Communications; Faculty Director, Management Communications Program

Liz Gerber - Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, McCormick School of Engineering

Pranav Kothari - Adjunct Lecturer of Social Enterprise, Kellogg School of Management; Founder & CEO, Revolution Impact, LLC; Prior – VP, Strategy & Innovation, KnowledgeWorks; Co-Founder & MD, Mission Measurement

Kevin Murnane - Adjunct Professor of Leadership

Nicholas A. Pearce - Clinical Associate Professor of Management & Organizations, Kellogg School of Management

Fees & Accommodations


Nonprofit Management Programs are held at Northwestern University's Chicago Campus.

Wieboldt Hall
340 East Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Campus Parking Map - Please Note: the Huron Superior Parking A lot and the Erie Ontario Parking C & D lots are available to the public and should be used when attending programs at Wieboldt Hall.

Application Deadline

The deadline for registration is 10:00 am one business day prior to the program start date.

Scholarship Assistance

Up to 50% scholarships are available for all of our nonprofit executive education programs for those working in nonprofit organizations. All applications are initially submitted at the full list price. Each is reviewed by our registrar and any scholarships granted will be reflected in the amount applied to your invoice or charged to your credit card.

Hospitality during the Program

We strive to provide healthy meal choices for our participants for breakfast, lunch and breaks. We typically provide a range of choices, including some vegetarian-friendly and gluten-avoidant selections. We cannot meet all dietary preferences, but we will do our best to accommodate health restrictions, religious restrictions and food allergies.


Participants are responsible for booking their hotel accommodations during their stay in Chicago.

Download Nearby Hotels List

Cancellation Policy:

Participants must notify the Program Manager five business days in advance of the program start date if they are unable to attend. Otherwise, participants will be charged 20% of the stated program fees.

When canceling a program registration, participants may choose to rollover their payment to a future program or receive a refund. Participants are allowed three rollovers, after the third rollover, participants forfeit the money paid to the Center for Nonprofit Management.

*Refund or rollover must be requested at the time of the program cancellation. Once a program payment has been rolled over, a monetary refund is no longer an option. The participant must continue with the rollover process.

Learn More

Please email or call us if you would like additional information about Nonprofit Programs

2020 Sessions

July 15-16, 2020

Start: July 15 at 8:30 AM

End: July 16 at 5:00 PM

LOCATION: Chicago campus


Scholarships Available

Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208