PLI alum and faculty Leyda Garcia has been named the recipient of the 2022 Educator Leadership Award by the Institute for Educational Leadership. Leyda has been principal of the UCLA Community School in Los Angeles since 2012.
The UCLA Principal Leadership Institute (PLI) trains and supports a diverse group of individuals committed to the principles of academic excellence, equity, and integrity as a way to maximize achievement and opportunity for students in urban schools. The Principal Leadership Institute at UCLA has designed a rigorous 14-month program aligned with the California Administrative Professional Expectations (CAPEs) that will prepare the next generation of urban school leaders. The program grants a Master’s degree and completion of the courses required for the California Tier 1 Administrative Credential. The program is designed to attract outstanding educators who have administrative interests and recognized potential. The Principal Leadership Institute utilizes the Reciprocal Learning Partnership Equity Framework.
The UCLA Principal Leadership Institute recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary, along with the Principal Leadership Institute at UC Berkeley.
PLI Cohort 22 Collective Statement
As democratic leaders committed to social justice, we don’t make excuses, we get involved.
We raise our critical consciousness so as not to replicate the actions of oppressors.
We demonstrate true curiosity, admiration, and gratitude for the students we serve.
We believe every student is valuable and indispensable and should be seen and heard.
We acknowledge differences, humanize our students, and empower the community.
We create ripple effects that one day will become a tsunami of equitable education.
As social justice leaders, we plan to listen, dream big, and be bold in our actions.
We will reject meritocracy, deficit thinking, and the by-stander effect.
We will create a community rooted in the inherent worth and dignity of each member’s humanity.
We will employ dialogical practices that challenge the status quo.
We will disrupt and dismantle the systems that foster marginalization and perpetuate the perceived dominant culture and hierarchical structures.
We will subvert the agendas of those in power and empower our marginalized students.
To sustain our work as transformative leaders, we will need help.
We need fully resourced schools and systems that support equity driven work.
We need co-conspirators, financially backed by like-minded social justice organizations or individuals.
We need reflective spaces that replenish our emotional, physical, and spiritual energy.
We need time to reflect, to connect, and to remember why we are so passionate about education.
Empowered by such supports, we will subvert the systems in place and pursue our dreams of equitable education.
UCLA Principal Leadership Institute (PLI) in the News
“This recognition underscores the value of our work in advancing educational scholarship and practice that is grounded in an ethic of care and focused on creating educational opportunity for all citizens, locally and globally.”
Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez High School: A Community School That Honors Its Neighborhood’s Legacy of Educational Justice
This Learning Policy Institute Brief focuses on a high-performing community school in East Los Angeles led by PLI faculty & graduate Mauro Bautista. The brief details the structures and practices that create the conditions for deep engagement, shared leadership, and a school culture that combines rigorous and engaging academics in a nurturing and inclusive environment.
This ABC 7 news report features PLI faculty Letitia Johnson-Davis discussing how some schools and districts are working to change the racial disparity in suspensions. In the Los Angeles area, Black students are four times more likely to miss school due to a suspension than white students.
Felix Quinonez, PLI Cohort 6, was honored with a Los Angeles Unified Teacher of the Year award.
PLI Professor John Rogers’ report revealed new findings on schools’ and communities’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inequality that the pandemic has all too starkly exposed.
Principal Leadership Institute (PLI) Alumni
Participating in UCLA Principal’s Leadership Institute provided me the opportunity to understand that most of the challenges we face in education are structural rather than instructional. The UCLA Professors pulled back a veil obscuring inequity hidden within the blueprints of the school system and with each class provided a new set of tools to rework the structure in collaboration with parents, students, and teachers. After graduation, their coaching network continues to support me personally and professionally as I advocate to change the rules for our students and community. Thank you PLI!”
My experience as a member of PLI Cohort 20 was an unprecedented year of firsts. Personally, it was the first time I felt comfortable showing up as my full, authentic and intersectional identity. PLI was refreshing in that I was fortunate enough to experience a journey alongside a community of social justice leaders and educators committed to self improvement and discovery. Dr. Bettina Love’s quote “Education cannot save us. We have to save education,” continues to motivate me in personal path in disrupting and eradicating educational inequality for students of color. Ultimately, my multifaceted PLI experience added more fuel to the inner flame that emboldens me to share my story and use my voice for this immensely difficult and important work toward social justice.