The West Michigan Leadership Academy (WMLA) works to build the capacity of school and system leaders in West Michigan to envision and enact the structures, systems, and practices necessary to realize equitable outcomes for all students.
WMLA was established in 2017 as a partnership of the NYC Leadership Academy, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, Godwin Heights Public Schools, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kentwood Public Schools, Wyoming Public Schools, and the Kent Intermediate School District in the Greater Grand Rapids area. The partnership is generously funded and supported through the philanthropy of the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation and the Steelcase Foundation.
The first WMLA School Leader Fellowship cohort launched in June 2018 with 20 School Leader Fellows from across the WMLA partner districts. The second cohort of Fellows will be selected in early 2019.
School Leader Fellowship
The West Michigan Leadership Academy (WMLA) School Leader Fellowship is a three-year program of professional learning and leadership coaching for high-performing and high-potential school leaders. The WMLA cultivates leaders’ ability to confront systemic inequities and engage and inspire their school communities in envisioning and enacting the structures, systems, and practices required to achieve equitable outcomes for all students. There are two components of the WMLA School Leader Fellowship: the Professional Learning Network and one-on-one leadership coaching.
In the first year of the WMLA School Leader Fellowship, Fellows engage in a year-long professional learning series alongside peers from districts across West Michigan. The series develops and deepens Fellows’ skills in: using data to identify inequities and plan and track progress in closing gaps; identifying and supporting equitable instructional practice; and developing strong school-based leadership teams to maximize impact.
Each WMLA Fellow is matched with an expert leadership coach who works alongside them to provide support, challenge, and growth opportunities for three years. The leadership coaching is a confidential though partnership that is job-embedded, collaborative, and immediately applicable to both the day-to-day work and long-term vision of the school leader.
Customized District Services
The West Michigan Leadership Academy works with its partner districts to connect them to the resources and expertise of the full NYC Leadership Academy (NYCLA). In addition to supporting principals in the WMLA School Leader Fellowship, each WMLA partner district engages in equity-focused professional learning experiences developed and provided in collaboration with NYCLA and based on their own district approach to leadership development and support.
These services have included workshops such as Coaching for Equitable Practice and Equity SIMS; the New Principal Institute, an intensive professional learning series for first-year principals; and Executive Coaching for central office leaders.