Leadership Development at Scale: Louisiana Early Leaders Academy

“How do we expand and deepen the leadership of Louisiana’s early childhood center directors?”

In 2019, we launched the Louisiana Early Leaders Academy at the Louisiana Department of Education. We were inspired to do this because we saw that while the average early childhood teacher worked for 2 or so years, directors stayed in their centers for 7-9 years. How could we leverage these leaders to increase both organizational culture (to increase teacher retention) and improve systems?  In my role as the Director of Early Childhood Leadership Development, I (founder, Emmy O’Dwyer) conducted a landscape analysis, designed a pilot that won us second place at Harvard’s Saul Zaentz Innovation Challenge, secured full funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and launched an RFP process to identify a vendor to implement the program. Now in its fourth year, we have trained over 120 directors across the state, who increasingly lead at national, state, and local levels. 

Read about how we have created a climate for recognition for early educators.