Building Leadership Capacity: Foundations for Strong Schools

Sustainable Frameworks for Organizational Success

Behind each successful school there are dynamic school leaders. The next level in your school’s organizational development comes from building strong and sustainable systems, processes and culture to ensure the school’s ongoing success. Participants will walk away with an array of frameworks and strategies for implementing sustainable leadership practices to impact the organizational health of their schools.

Through a mix of research-based strategies and proven techniques, you will learn frameworks for leadership in an increasingly complex and often ambiguous environment; how to leverage the critical components of an effective feedback system within your school; how to apply a design thinking mindset and methodology to your challenges; and how to implement more effective teams across your school.

Designed for principals, heads of school, lead teachers, administrators, and other education leaders, this program will help you elevate your leadership and organizational capacity.

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

Center for Nonprofit Management

Develop tools to increase organizational capacity at your school.


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)
  • School Board members

Key Benefits

  • Develop tools to increase the leadership capacity at your school
  • Understand how to instill critical leadership attributes in today's increasingly complex school environments
  • Learn new practices for developing a team that can help to achieve the vision and mission of your school
  • Gain exposure to methodologies that can be applied to nearly any challenge or endeavor

Program Content

Leading in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambitious Environments

  • Learn about the attributes of successful leaders in complex environments
  • Examine tested frameworks to enhance leadership capabilities
  • Explore how to apply these frameworks to your own school leadership and across your team

Feedback in 3D

  • Learn about the power of feedback for school leaders, teachers and staff
  • Explore the three critical dimensions of a highly effective feedback system: receiving feedback, providing feedback and leading team feedback

Applying Design Thinking to Learning Environments

  • Learn a design thinking methodology and mindset that can be applied to nearly any challenge or endeavor
  • Through simulation and mini-cases, gain an understanding of how to apply design thinking within your school

Team Building

  • Learn to design and implement more effective teams
  • Examine elements in intra-team behavior such as leadership, communication and conflict resolution and inter-team dynamics such as competition


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

Bernie Banks - Associate Dean for Leadership Development; Clinical Professor of Management

Gail Berger - Assistant Professor of Instruction, Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences; Assistant Professor of Executive Education

Robert Hughes - Clinical Assistant Professor of Executive Education, Managing Director of Executive Education

Jim Spillane - Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University

Accommodations, Fees & Policies


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

Kellogg School of Management

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