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Harvard Business School

Public Education Leadership Project

PELP: The Public Education Leadership Project
Jul 7—12
6 days
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
USD 31500
USD 5250 per day

How it works


Note: The fee us for a team of 8

Improved student performance depends on strong leadership, a culture of collaboration, and a dedication to accountability across a school district. This program helps leaders from U.S.-based urban school systems apply proven management concepts to their districts' unique challenges. Joining with other administrators and educators from across the country, your team of eight leaders from your district will refine your management model, develop new improvement strategies, and learn how to serve your students more effectively.

Key Benefits

In this unique program, your district team will learn and grow together, build management and leadership skills, and acquire new ability to achieve long-term excellence across all schools in your district. You will return to your district with new ideas and strategies that you can implement successfully.

  • Develop, communicate, and execute a strategy for improving your schools
  • Build high-performance leadership teams that continue to learn and grow
  • Adapt successful practices from other school systems to the needs of your district
  • Expand your personal and professional network
    • Extend your network by living and working with accomplished executives from various backgrounds, industries, and countries across the globe
    • Build relationships with a diverse group of peers who can provide wide-ranging insights into your business challenges and career decisions
    • Gain access to a valuable network of previous program participants

What You Will Learn

This rich learning experience features faculty presentations, case studies, and dynamic discussions with faculty and other public education leaders whose insights will help you grow both during the program and well beyond. As you analyze management and leadership best practices in successful school districts, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, you will broaden and deepen your leadership and management capabilities, improve your ability to deliver measurable results—and learn how to establish a culture of high expectations and accountability.

Key Areas

Make strategy and coherence concrete

  • Understanding how cultures, systems, and environments reinforce one another and support strategy implementation
  • Enabling people at all levels to implement their piece of the strategy
  • Envisioning and managing districts as integrated systems with interdependent parts that directly link to the classroom
  • Establishing a collaborative process for designing plans that principals and teachers can use effectively

Attract and retain the best people

  • Developing and managing human capital
  • Recruiting the best people for hard-to-staff schools
  • Aligning the recruiting process with the district strategy
  • Improving leadership capabilities at all levels

Manage for high performance

  • Building strategies for effective, long-term administrative performance
  • Applying performance data to guide decisions and measure accountability
  • Allocating resources to support strategic goals

Create a culture of performance

  • Establishing a culture of performance that values results more than efforts
  • Analyzing data to improve performance
  • Motivating the best teachers and administrators to take on the most challenging assignments

Who should attend

The program is designed for teams of eight participants who are responsible for urban school systems with at least 20,000 enrolled students.

The district's superintendent must always be among the eight team participants. Other members of the multilevel leadership team might include:

  • Central office administrators
  • School principals
  • Regional supervisors
  • Union leaders
  • Teacher leaders
  • Community liaisons
  • Members of the school board, board of education, or school committee that governs the district

Districts can build capability by sending new teams to the program over three or more consecutive years. To facilitate continuity, teams from districts returning to the program may send one additional past participant beyond the superintendent.


Michael Tushman holds degrees from Northeastern University (B.S.E.E.), Cornell University (M. S.), and the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. (Ph.D.). Tushman was on the faculty of the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, from 1976 to 1998; he was the Phillip Hettleman Professor of...
John J-H Kim is a Senior Lecturer in the General Management unit of the Harvard Business School. Mr. Kim created and teaches the second-year course Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education, which explores ways in which entrepreneurs are pursuing the use of technology to transform ...
Andres A. Alonso began his tenure as professor of practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he received his doctorate as part of the former Urban Superintendents Program. Alonso teaches a course on urban and systemic reform, and contributes to leadership programs such as the Doc...
Monica Higgins joined the Harvard faculty in 1995 and is the Kathleen McCartney Professor of Education Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where her research and teaching focus on the areas of leadership development and organizational change. Prior to joining HGSE, she spent el...
Karen L. Mapp, Ed.D., is a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the faculty director of the Education Policy and Management master’s program. Over the past 20 years, Mapp’s research and practice focus has been on the cultivation of partnerships among...


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