Frequently Asked Questions

The NACSA Leaders Program

Who is the Ideal Candidate for the NACSA Leaders Program? 

To be eligible to apply for the Leaders Program, you must: 1) Currently work in an authorizing office; 2) Be committed to personal and professional growth; 3) Be able to attend Leaders Program sessions. We look for individuals with a commitment to the work of authorizing, and who demonstrate both a track record of taking initiative as a leader and a desire to build upon that experience. While we do not require applicants to hold a particular position, strong candidates generally have significant people and/or project management responsibilities and influence in decision-making in their offices.

How much does it cost to participate in the Leaders Program? 

All program costs, including transportation and lodging for in-person sessions, are covered by NACSA. 

What is the time and travel commitment? 

Leaders are required to attend all scheduled sessions. The commitment will vary greatly depending on whether the program includes in-person sessions or is fully virtual. See the draft Program Schedule options for more information. For in-person sessions, plan for travel time.  

What are the expectations for work outside of the sessions? How much homework will I have? 

Leaders have assigned pre-work including readings prior to the first session and between all subsequent sessions. Ongoing readings and reflections focus upon leadership, themes of equity and community, as well as specific authorizing content. All participants are expected to complete a capstone project that they work on throughout the program. While the time it takes to complete pre-work varies by participant and by session, participants can expect to spend approximately 4-8 hours on pre-work prior to each month’s session. 

How many people are in each cohort, and what is the cohort composition? 

NACSA makes selection decisions based first and foremost on the strength of the applicants, so the number of participants varies year to year. Past cohorts have had 10 to 12 participants. We limit the size of each cohort to a maximum of 12 participants to accommodate the highly-interactive delivery format. 

Past cohorts have included individuals from all types of authorizing environments (districts, ICBs, universities, etc.) and serving in a variety of capacities (Executive Directors, Deputy Directors, Managers of Accountability, etc.). NACSA seeks established heads of authorizing offices and emerging leaders who reflect the diversity and experiences of students in charter schools throughout the country. Leaders generally have significant people and/or project management responsibilities and influence in decision making in their offices 

What topics are covered in the sessions? 

Topics covered in the sessions generally fall within four areas of leadership development: 1) Self Leadership, 2) People Leadership, 3) Organizational Leadership, and 4) Practice, or Authorizing, Leadership. In the past, we have included topics such as strategic planning, organizational culture, advancing equity, accountability and autonomy, and relationship building. We also determine topics relevant to authorizing and leadership based on the needs of each cohort. 

How does the coaching component work? 

Each participant is paired with a coach who has extensive authorizing and/or leadership experience. The coaching relationship begins at the first session and continues through the last. Coaching offers real-time feedback as participants seek to apply what they have learned to their work and personal growth goals, and to sustain that learning. Each pair is expected to meet by phone or video conference roughly once a week, and circumstances allowing, the coach visits the Leader at least once during the program. 


What does the group do for fun? 

Learning is aided by the relationships we form, and the Leaders Program is no exception. Participants get to know one another well through intimate learning experiences as well as social outings, as circumstances allow. Past cohorts have enjoyed sporting events, architectural boat tours along the scenic Chicago River, and bowling. We even have some fun virtual activities up our sleeve if needed 

What happens after the Program ends? 

There are various opportunities to remain engaged with fellow cohort members and Program alumni to continue learning, sharing best practices, and driving innovation in the field. Leaders Alumni have presented at Leaders Program sessions or the NACSA Leadership Conference, served as Leaders Program coaches, and contributed articles and testimonials for NACSA’s blog and newsletter. Further, NACSA hosts in-person alumni convenings, where Leaders can broaden and deepen their network, grapple with problems of practice, and consider trends in education. 

I’d like to talk with someone who has participated in the Program. Can you connect me? 

We are happy to set up conversations with Program alumni. Please contact David Greenberg. 

Where can I get more information about the Program? 

For more information, please contact David Greenberg.