The Vermont School Leadership Project is Vermont’s only leadership development opportunity that deeply examines “whole systems” thinking and change management in public schools. The Project’s target audience includes, but is not exclusive to, superintendents, principals, curriculum and special education directors, as well as other education professionals who have proven leadership abilities and seriously aspire to leadership roles.

The program is rigorous and demands a significant time commitment, plus a deep commitment to personal growth and development, and to making a difference in education in Vermont. The Snelling Center is seeking candidates with a strong sense of integrity and ethics, a disposition towards transparent and collaborative leadership, and the ability to build consensus and political support.

The Vermont School Leadership Program will develop leaders who will impact the educational system in Vermont.  The leaders will

  • Know themselves as a leader
  • Know themselves as a leader in relation to others
  • Know themselves in relation to systems – in your own setting and in connection to other systems
  • Develop the means to analyze and transform the educational system


The application process includes:

  • Application process opens November, 2016
  • Completion of the online application by January 18, 2017
  • Submission of two letters of recommendation (details can be found in the application)
  • Participation in an interview or informational meeting


To nominate a colleague, contact Val Gardner.

Duration of the program:

The program will be delivered over an eighteen (18) month period with a total of 18 days spread over two summer sessions and five sessions to be held during the course of the school year.

Outcomes (tentative) for each of the VSLP sessions:

Session 1:  (4 days) July 11-14, 2017
Examine their Personal Assessments (MBTI, LPI 360);
Gain an overview of the program leadership;
Explore the role of values and assumptions in leadership;
Think about the “call to leadership”;
Start a “toolkit” for dialogue, discussion and collective inquiry;
Build connections with each other to begin the process of community building; and
Establish a foundation for VSLP 2014 educational vision.

Session 2:  (3 days) October 18 – 20, 2017

Extend understanding of self and self as leader;
Deepen understanding of the Snelling Journey;
Examine dispositions for leadership and systems thinking;
Understand inquiry and team learning;
Understand the nature of systems; and
Continue to grow the VSLP Learning Community.

Session 3:  (2 days) January 18 & 19, 2018

Extend their understanding of the growth curve and how to apply it to systems analysis and systems development;
Deepen their understanding and application of systems thinking and analysis of systems;
Use technology to aid transformational efforts;Continue to grow the VSLP Learning Community; and
Deepen understanding of the Snelling Journey.

Session 4: (2 days) April 5 & 6, 2018
Learn the principles of successful partnerships;
Explore examples of successful education and community partnerships from the field;
Understand the Transformation Initiative (TI) process and limits (planning with the end in mind);
Articulate a “North Star” for your Transformation Initiative (including “desired state”);
Identify the current status of the focus TI;
Plan a process for collecting data about their current status in relation to the North Star;
Continue the Snelling Journey for the Call to Leadership; and
Continue to develop the Snelling Community.

Session 5: (3 days) July 11 – 13, 2018
Continue work on their transformation initiative to include:

– Analysis of data

– Indicators of Progress

– Plan of action

Continue the Snelling Journey for the Call to Leadership;
Connect to the work of state leaders in education;
Understand this work is foundational in building their toolkit; and
Continue to develop the Snelling Community.

Session 6:  (2 days)  October 4 & 5, 2018
Understand the work is about developing a Toolkit” vs have the “transformation finished”;
Continue work on transformation initiative including exploring partnerships in their options and the development of an implementation plan;
Deepen understanding of indicators of progress and possibilities;
Reflect on the process of implementing their transformation initiative in relation to the Call to Leadership;
Continue to develop the Snelling Community;
Understand the expectations for closure to this leg of the Snelling Journey; and
Bring people back to systems thinking and focus on actions for the long-range plan.

Session 7:  (2 days) November 9 & 10, 2018
Reflect on their personal and class journeys through VSLP18;
Learn from individual and colleagues’ transformation initiatives;
Commit to individual and collective role as Vermont’s education leaders; and
Celebrate the first leg of the Snelling Journey.
Expectations for attendance and participation:

The program requires the commitment to attend all sessions and to stay at the site. The cost of the program includes the cost of the program and room and meals.

Number of associates:  The goal is to have 24 participants in the 2018 program.

Tuition: $6,700 for double occupancy / $7,500 for single occupancy is $7,500

Installments: Double occupancy installments of $3,350 each, billed in July 2017 and January 2018. Single occupancy installments of $3,750, billed in July 2017 and January 2018. Some program participants choose to pay the tuition all at once and this is completely acceptable, if you choose this option please send full payment by July 1, 2017.

The VSLP Class of 2018 will begin its training in July of 2017. Most day sessions take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each session requires some advance preparation. We ask associates to apply their learning to a personal leadership plan and a transformation initiative at their worksite.