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.  

UCLA PLI 20th Anniversary Brochure

The UCLA Principal Leadership Institute is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, along with the Principal Leadership Institute at UC Berkeley.

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 is about praxis; it’s about digging deep into the nuances of theory and frameworks, mining for those best practices related to building sustainable, transformational, and equitable opportunities for our students, and executing intentional, social justice-driven plans at the grassroots level within our schools and communities. PLI has dramatically impacted the way in which I view the urban educational landscape today.

D’Anza Smith-Rodriguez

Literacy Coach for School Transformation at Partnership for Los Angeles Schools

PLI is a pedagogic space like none that I have encountered – a transformative one – that nurtured my mind and pushed me to grow as an instructional leader. I joined a collective group of caring educators eager to transform schools and left the program with a strong network of lifelong friends, along with a comprehensive set of foundational skills to support our youth and communities in relevant and purposeful ways.

Danya Villanueva

Reading Intervention Teacher, Mt. Vernon Elementary School

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