Leadership WSSDA

Leadership WSSDA is a program for school directors seeking to improve their expertise and leadership capacity within the educational system. The benefits of this program will positively impact participants’ professional and personal lives.

Take your leadership to the next level

Many education leaders have graduated from this program including nine WSSDA presidents, numerous WSSDA board and committee members, state board members and a number of legislators.

The Leadership WSSDA program provides the time and framework to examine today’s most important education issues with other experienced leaders. There is very little “lecture” time. Participants will be up and moving, engaged with each other, working in group activities, and actively learning. The curriculum may also include reading articles and books between classes to promote discussion around current education and leadership topics.

The program occurs every other year and includes visits by expert speakers and several field trips to facilitate in-depth learning. Participants will meet five times throughout the year. This rigorous program is designed to fit the busy schedules of school directors with Friday afternoon to Saturday class sessions. Friday sessions generally run from noon to 8 p.m., resuming on Saturday from 8 a.m. to mid-afternoon.

Dates, locations and topics

Applications for 2022 Leadership WSSDA will open in November 2021. Dates and locations of the five 2-day sessions will be provided at that time. Participants will need to commit to all five sessions to be accepted into the program. The sessions are usually held in February, April, July and September with the final session and graduation at Annual Conference in November.

Below is the schedule for the 2019 Leadership WSSDA program to get a sense of the topics and locations.

  • March 15-16, 2019 at WSSDA — Leadership Defined
  • April 26-27, 2019 at WSSDA — Leadership for Influence
  • July 19-20, 2019 in Walla Walla — Leadership for All
  • September 25-26, 2019 in Spokane — Leadership for Change
  • November 20, 2019 at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency in conjunction with 2019 Annual Conference — Leadership for Life


Tuition of $1,000 includes the cost to run the program plus meals and snacks during the sessions. Tuition does not include the cost of travel and lodging. Half of tuition (50%) is refundable following the first session and prior to the second session. After the second session, no refunds will be given. 

Congrats to our 2019 Leadership WSSDA Graduates

  • Melissa Beard, Tumwater
  • Mark Duncan, McCleary
  • Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island
  • Stanley Holland, Orting
  • Clara Jimenez, Toppenish
  • Cindy Kelly, Port Angeles
  • Liza Klumpar, Eatonville
  • Ruth Ladderud, Walla Walla
  • Ron Mabry, Kennewick
  • Neal Martin, Republic
  • Kelli Melhus, St. John
  • Jill Oldson, Richland
  • Craig Patty, North Mason

Get more information

Contact Tricia Lubach or Christine Najarro from WSSDA’s Leadership Development team if you have questions or if you would like to be added to our list to contact when registration opens.

What Leadership WSSDA grads say

I learned so much from stories and experiences shared by my fellow class members. It was also an affirmation of my growth realizing that I had experiences and knowledge to share as well.

The most valuable aspect of Leadership WSSDA was the relationships built during our time together. They have had a lasting impact me.

The guest speakers were a most special treat, as they had a tremendous wealth of knowledge and wisdom from decades of experience to share.

Leadership WSSDA has value for everyone, whether you’ve been a director for two years or twenty.  One of the most encouraging things for me was to learn that other districts face problems similar to the ones we have in our district, and to share solutions together.

The greatest benefit for me was the connections I made with education leaders from all over the state. When I have a question or need information, I have an experienced and knowledgeable resource base from which to draw.