Skip Navigation

Leadership Development in Continuous Improvement


A NYSED-funded Diversity Leadership Initiative Program

This virtual six-session seminar series offers aspiring principals an opportunity to engage in continuous improvement to examine a problem of practice and test a viable solution using equity-focused improvement science. Our assumption is that diverse aspiring principals need opportunities to lead equity-focused improvement work, to facilitate their advancement. This includes developing inquiry, team-building, and communication skills, while learning to navigate potential diversity challenges in the problems they target or the relationship building work they will do. 

Key to this will be each participant’s work (as lead) with a small team of 3-5 teachers or other staff throughout the seminar series. Thus, priority will be given to the recruitment of diverse assistant principals/teachers and/or schools with diverse teams.

The series is limited to 20-25 assistant principals or teacher leaders and their teams. The series combines a team-based learning approach (within each school) and NIC-based learning approach among schools. The school teams will be organized into three NICs of 6-8 school teams each to tackle a similar problem of practice or partnership needed for their schools. Participants’ learning and accomplishments will be evaluated and can earn CTLE credit.




September 29 – Orientation session with assistant principals
  • Overview of the seminar series
  • Norm setting and team building
  • Introduction to improvement science
  • Identifying and unpacking a problem of practice
October 13 – Investigating a problem of practice
  • Unpacking a problem quantitatively—looking at variation
  • Investigating qualitatively—gaining the users’ perspective
  • Preparing to talk with students and staff about the problem
  • Applying an equity lens
October 27 – Seeing the system that produces the problem and areas for intervention
  • Analyzing what was learned from talking with students and staff about the problem
  • Analyzing the factors that contribute to or are insufficient for the problem
  • Applying a critical systems analysis perspective
  • Developing a theory of change
November 17 – Testing a solution through a PDSA cycle of inquiry
  • Mapping a cycle of inquiry to test a solution
  • Planning for implementation
  • Identifying measures of progress and impact
December 8 – Following up on the first cycle of inquiry, planning for second cycle
  • Sharing out early results and adjusting the solution
  • Preparing for a second inquiry cycle
  • Preparing to share results
January 5 –  Sharing results and reflecting on next steps


Instructional Lead

Margaret Orr Headshot
Margaret Terry Orr, PhD

Margaret Orr is a professor at Fordham University and EdD program director and Chair of its Division of Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy. She has researched and published widely on leadership preparation approaches, the influence of preparation on leader practice and school and district reform initiatives.  Her current research focuses on rigorous performance assessment research and development in educational leadership, nationally and internationally; and developing inquiry-oriented educational leadership using equity-focused improvement science to more effectively address intractable problems in schools and other educating institutions.

Read more about Margaret Terry Orr

About The Diversity Leadership Initiative

The Diversity Leadership Initiative was made possible through the work of the Metropolitan Council of Education Administration Programs (MCEAP) executive committee and has received funding from a New York State Education Department (NYSED) grant. The grant's objectives are to help create a pipeline for emerging school leaders, to conduct and disseminate research on the effective strategies being used in the field, and to foster new and better leadership skills to integrate diversity and inclusion efforts deeply into school priorities, culture and operations.

Find Out More >

For More Information

If you have questions about the Leadership Seminars, please send us an email.