UCLA Principal Leadership Institute

Leading for Justice

The 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 15 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 PLI utilizes the Reciprocal Learning Partnership Equity Framework.  

PLI Cohort 19 Collective Statement

As leaders committed to social justice education, our work is sustained by an unyielding oppositional consciousness.
We believe it is essential to rethink, redefine, and diagnose.
We believe all people must be acknowledged and respected for who they are and the assets they bring.
We believe that fostering relationships is the foundation for eliminating inequities and marginalization.
We share power with community stakeholders and guide participation to build expertise.
We challenge deficit ideologies and cultivate a sense of belonging by validating, affirming, building and bridging students’ identities.
We engage in dialogue instead of debate, build capacity instead of continuing the bureaucratic status quo, and encourage questioning instead of demanding compliance.
Rather than acting as speaking police, we facilitate community discussions to unearth the root causes of bigotry.
To enact this vision, we need like-minded allies who value the social, cultural, and linguistic assets that every student brings.
We need liberation from bureaucracy and racist accountability policies that maintain the conditions of marginalization.
We need financial, school, and community resources to build the tools and structures needed to promote meaningful participation.
We need social-emotional support to care for ourselves and provide a holistic healing environment for our school communities.
We will be willing to take risks and advocate for students and families even when it is difficult.
We will be compassionate, powerful, and fearless activists.
We will lead by example with positive energy, humor, and love.

The PLI Experience

UCLA Principal Leadership Institute (PLI) in the News

UCLA Department of Education Rated Number One in US News & World Report Rankings

“We are humbled by this recognition,” says Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco. “It is a tribute to the extraordinary collective work of our world-renowned scholars, our amazing staff, and our students — the next generation of engaged, optimist Bruins taking their GSE&IS tools to make the world a better place. While it is important to keep these rankings in perspective, we are both gratified and grateful for the honor.”

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Principal Leadership Institute (PLI) Alumni

PLI established a framework of empowerment to help me become a true agent of change in the community I serve. I firmly believe that the arsenal of progressive educational theory, execution of thoughtful practice, consistent reflection, and continued support from the PLI team has developed my skills to truly become a transformative leader.

Tommy Welch

Interim Academic Superintendent of Alternative Schools in Boston Public Schools

My experience in the UCLA PLI program helped establish the foundation by which I serve as a social justice leader in urban public schools and communities. Unlike other traditional administrative programs, the PLI faculty and staff helped me transform my philosophies of education by sharing tools and insights that would allow me to evolve into a democratic leader whose goals are to establish school reform by creating collaborative opportunities for all stakeholders within the learning community.

Qiana O’Leary

Principal of Environmental Charter Middle School

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