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Divisions > Academic Policy & Innovation
Leadership Development

We Believe:
- Leadership matters.
- Leadership is learned.
- Leadership impacts every child's achievement.

The vision for leadership development is effective instructional leaders in all Maryland schools.

The mission for leadership development is to build the capacity of present and potential school leaders to increase student achievement by using the Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework outcomes as the foundation of all learning experiences. These outcomes include the following:

  • Facilitate the Development of a School Vision
  • Align All Aspects of a School Culture to Student and Adult Learning
  • Monitor Alignment of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Improve Instructional Practices Through the Purposeful Observation and Evaluation of Teachers
  • Ensure the Regular Integration of Appropriate Assessments into Daily Classroom Instruction
  • Use Technology and Multiple Sources of Data to Improve Classroom Instruction
  • Provide Staff with Focused, Sustained, Research-based Professional Development
  • Engage All Community Stakeholders in a Shared Responsibility for Student and School Success
In Focus
Maryland Principals’ Academy
The Maryland Principals’ Academy will be in hiatus for the life of the Race to the Top grant, beginning in 2011. In its place, the Maryland State Department of Education will be implementing the Educator Effectiveness Academies beginning in 2011 and a Priority Schools Academy designed specifically for principals of low-achieving schools, beginning in 2012.

Maryland Principals' Academy

The Maryland Principals' Academy is a yearlong learning experience that includes a summer residential institute, two follow-up sessions during the year, and on-site visits to participants' schools.  The Academy's content is based on the Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework and is focused on building the instructional leadership capacity of principals.  Participants with one to five years of experience as a principal work together to examine and synthesize instructional leadership theories, research, practical tools, and strategies to help them lead their schools.


Academy Outcomes:

1) Build leadership capacity aligned with the Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework that will accelerate student and adult learning
2) Examine and synthesize principles and practices that facilitate a cycle of continuous improvement for student and adult learning
3) Establish and maintain a network of colleagues who will engage in ongoing dialogue about student achievement

Leadership Learning Series


The Leadership Learning Series are professional development workshops designed to provide Maryland principals, assistant principals, and potential leaders with the skills, strategies, and content needed to be effective instructional leaders who build leadership capacity in their schools.  The Leadership Learning Series is derived from the outcomes and evidences in practice found in the Division’s Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework
The Leadership Learning Series are delivered at the request of the local school system superintendents, and follow-up experiences are provided by their school system executive officers.

Aspiring Principals' Institute

The Aspiring Principals' Institute is a yearlong learning experience for potential school leaders who have been chosen by their superintendents to participate. This institute was established in the 2007-2008 school year and is co-sponsored by the Eastern Shore of Maryland Education Consortium and the Division for Academic Reform and Innovation at the Maryland State Department of Education.  A second Aspiring Principals' Institute was established in July 2010, co-sponsored by the Leadership Development branch of the Division of Academic Reform and Innovation and the Western Maryland consortium of Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties.  Using funds from the Race to the Top grant, new Aspiring Principals' Institutes will be established in 2011 in both southern and central Maryland, as well as in targeted Turnaround Schools in Prince George's County and Baltimore City.



  • Understand how to use the Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework as a self-assessment tool
  • Identify the interconnectedness of the Framework Outcomes and Evidences
  • Analyze components of school culture aligned to student and adult learning
  • Examine tools for assessing school culture
  • Determine strategies and formulate next steps for cultivating each participant's own school's culture
  • Analyze classroom instruction with a focus on student learning behaviors
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of instruction based on evidence of student learning
  • Communicate through specific oral and written feedback the relationship between teacher behaviors and student learning
  • Examine the role of change in implementing successful innovation
  • Reflect on processes for change in schools and school systems

Contact Information


Ilene Swirnow, Director of Leadership Development Initiatives

Maryland State Department of Education

200 West Baltimore Street

Baltimore, MD 21201


Email: iswirnow@msde.state.md.us

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