About the Program

The Governor’s Institute for School Leadership (GISL) is a partnership between the Delaware Governor’s Office, Department of Education (DOE), University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), local Delaware school districts and Delaware public schools. GISL is a collaborative response to the need for continual support and development of leaders at all levels within public education and acts upon the benefits that are derived from intentional and collaborative district, university and government partnerships.

The Governor’s Institute for School Leadership is conceptualized as a two-prong approach to support the professional learning of individuals at both ends of the school leadership spectrum. To this end, GISL will (1) support capacity building of the nineteen public school district superintendents with the creation of a Superintendent Study Council,  (2) serve to strengthen the principal pipeline in Delaware with the creation and implementation of an Assistant Principal Academy, and (3) develop the skills and knowledge of principal supervisors to support the instructional leadership of principals they supervise and evaluate.

Our Mission

The mission of the Governor’s Institute for School Leadership is to foster a collaborative state-wide climate and culture that supports and promotes leader learners and to mobilize resources, research and collective knowledge to build school-level and district-level leadership capacity.


The Superintendent Study Council will create a leadership network consisting of State of Delaware superintendents and other district office administrators who will meet monthly for discussion, collaboration and professional learning on relevant and timely topics related to school improvement, equity, and improving outcomes for all students.  The Council is a collaborative effort between Delaware school districts, the Department of Education and the University of Delaware Delaware Academy of School Leadership that provides relevant, timely, and meaningful research, best practices, and professional learning to support executive-level leaders in addressing complex and evolving challenges in education.


The Assistant Principal Academy is a highly selective 12-month program designed to develop distinguished assistant principals into transformational building-level principals. The program consists of 5 modules of instruction aligned to Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL), coaching by University of Delaware Academy for School Leadership (DASL) Leadership Coaches, and a practice-based mentorship with a successful building principal.

The Assistant Principal Academy curriculum was developed by Dr. Lauren Bailes and Dr. Bryan VanGronigen, Assistant Professors in the School of Education in collaboration with school leadership specialists from the Delaware Academy for School Leadership and Dr. Michael Saylor from the Delaware Department of Education.


The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) the ELA offers professional learning informed by research, practice and the national standards for educational leadership. This program is offered at no financial cost to the school district and will provide Principal Supervisors with the tools they need to support principals with instruction, evaluation, and operational management. Participating District Office Leaders will broaden their knowledge to support school administrators to impact outcomes for students, enhance and further develop their skills as Principal Supervisors, maximize the impact of their time spent in schools and enhance their professional network of colleagues from across the state.

The ELA program was created in partnership with the University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), the Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware Governor’s Office. As a branch of the Governor’s Institute for School Leadership, the ELA is led by UD experts in the Delaware Academy for School Leadership, housed within CEHD’s School Success Center.