The Wallace Foundation Renews Third Year of District Initiative in Education Leadership (LEAD)

August 05, 2004


The Wallace Foundation Renews Third Year of District Initiative in Education Leadership (LEAD)

$11 million awarded to 11 districts currently participating in Leadership for Educational Achievement in Districts (LEAD)


NEW YORK, NY, August 5, 2004 – The Wallace Foundation has renewed a series of one-year grants, totaling $11 million, to 11 districts participating in the third year of its Leadership for Educational Achievement in Districts (LEAD) initiative.  Renewable annually for an additional two years based on significant progress and results, the grants are part of the foundation’s national effort to improve student achievement by strengthening  education leadership.

The LEAD districts are part of a learning network that is developing new approaches to  preparing leaders and working toward changing policies and practices to improve teaching and learning.  The districts are located within states participating in Wallace’s State Action for Education Leadership Project (SAELP).  These states are also committed to reforming policies to improve leadership and learning.  The long-term goal of this coordinated state-district strategy is to develop and share policies and practices with many other states and districts beyond those getting direct support from Wallace.

“To help raise student achievement more broadly and rapidly than one school at a time, we have focused on two interrelated points of influence: states and districts,” said Richard Laine, The Wallace Foundation’s director of education.  “By working on these different levels and creating partnerships with community leaders, unions, universities and state officials, district and school leaders can get the support they need to deliver results for all students.”

Working closely with their state partners, LEAD districts are focusing on training and professional development to provide principals, assistant principals and aspiring principals with the skills and knowledge they need to be effective leaders of change.  Over the last two and a half years, 9,456 current and aspiring leaders participated in LEAD training activities.  Of these, more than half were women (5,223) and nearly a third were minorities (2,793).  Additionally, these districts have fostered partnership with local colleges and universities to initiate new training practices and have also initiated reforms in principal expectations and job descriptions. 

In the next phase of LEAD, the districts will also work on improving leadership conditions by changing the roles, responsibilities and authority of principals; ensuring that well-prepared leaders are placed where they are needed most; empowering leaders to allocate resources to match student needs; and changing district culture to ensure high standards and expectations for all children.

The 11 LEAD districts are: Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools; Fort Wayne (IN) Community Schools; Providence (RI) School District; Springfield (MA) Public Schools; St. Louis (MO) Public Schools; Eugene (OR) School District; Hartford (CT) Board of Education; Atlanta (GA) Public Schools; Springfield (IL) School District; Trenton (NJ) Public Schools; New York City Community District Ten; and Jefferson County (KY) Public Schools.  Renewal of funding for St. Louis Public Schools (MO) has been delayed pending confirmation of the district’s continuing commitment to LEAD as it searches for a new superintendent.


The Wallace Foundation seeks to support and share effective ideas and practices that enable institutions to expand learning and enrichment opportunities for all people. Its current objectives are to: 

  • Strengthen education leadership to improve student achievement; 
  • Improve after-school learning opportunities; and 
  • Expand participation in arts and culture.

For more information and research on the foundation, please visit