The heart of School Leader Lab is our School Leader Cohort, a two year program that develops participants in instructional and adult leadership grounded in the principles of equity and local context. 


In concert with our School Leader Cohort, we partner with schools to support their organizational capacity for school leader development in the form of project engagements and coaching.


Our Mission

We partner with schools and their networks to grow and sustain high-quality outcomes for students by developing their greatest catalyzer: leaders.

With equity at our core, we develop individuals and teams in the two most essential areas of school leadership: instructional and adult leadership.  Deep practice is the most effective method for learning to lead and serves as the foundation for our cohort programs and capacity-building projects.  


Our Story
Based on strong demand from DC charter leaders, we came together in the spring of 2016 to incubate a new leadership development program model.  During the 2016-17 school year, we held four local Learning Labs, piloting a model that supported charter leaders as they completed Relay GSE’s  year-long National Principal Academy Fellowship. We complemented Relay's instructional programming with one on one coaching in adaptive leadership. Due to the success of this pilot, our model is rooted in practice, integrating instructional, adult leadership, and equity/cultural context in the training to holistically develop leaders.


Our early pilot work also substantiated the need for internal talent management capacity to support and extend leader development within charter organizations.  Today, we are honored to work with more than 150 school leaders in Washington, DC, Kansas City and South Carolina. 


Our Values
Equity. We devote significant time, energy, and resources to build our muscle and that of our partners in using an equity lens to better identify, discuss, and build equitable practices into our work, and the schools and community we serve. [a note on our ongoing work on equity]


Integrity. We hold ourselves to a high bar of excellence and are principled in our approach and interactions with our partners and each other.


Partnership. We believe that exceptional leadership requires deep collaboration, with school leaders and with each other, and that working together will always yield better results than when we work alone.


Impact. We use data and rapid cycle feedback to learn, to drive our decision making as well as our resource allocation to ensure that our programming and organization yield excellent results – to strengthen the sustainability of the schools with which we work.



“The support that the School Leader Lab has provided me has made an indelible impact on my leadership. The coaching and feedback, the Learning Lab sessions and the network of relationships provide me with support, accountability, and consistent reinforcement. I leave each interaction feeling deeply renewed, inspired and empowered.”  

– DC charter school principal

“I appreciate School Leader Lab because it has given me a solid community of school leaders of color in DC.”  

– SLC 2017 member, charter school principal