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The Wisconsin Urban Leadership Experience

The WULI Experience

Professional Learning Series

The Leadership for Equity approach employs a holistic, systemic lens to educational equity that attends to and drives strategic equity interventions and innovation at the individual, interpersonal, and systemic levels. The professional learning series is supported by expert co-facilitators, rich learning materials, and action-oriented adult learning design.

The WULI experience begins with a half-day kick-off followed by a sequence of five professional learning series which define the Leadership for Equity approach. Each series consists of two full-day sessions:

1. Discovering Self as Equity Champion

Participants will engage in a needs assessment and begin to learn how to develop a professional learning community centered on trust, vulnerability, safety, and sharing. Participants will demonstrate a growth mindset as a public learner and establish critical friendships.

2. Developing Cultural Competence

Participants will engage in deepening their understanding of the history of racism, examine their implicit bias and its impact on their leadership, and develop the facilitative skills needed to engage in courageous conversations around the impact of race on equity with staff.

3. Building a Culture of Excellence with Equity

Participants will understand the systems and conditions necessary for creating a culture where all students, especially students of color, and staff feel a sense of belonging and relationship; there are high expectations for both adults and students; and the necessary support for success is provided.

4. Designing a School Improvement Strategy for Results

Participants will understand and leverage how to use data and iterative cycles of inquiry to develop, and monitor a strong improvement strategy for results. Distributed leadership for collective efficacy and impact will be central to this learning. Participants will understand and ensure family-centric engagement and community resource integration.


Participating fellows are supported in the further development of their equity leadership skills through one-on-one coaching. Coaching for WULI is done in partnership with the Wisconsin Statewide Coaching Coordinator. Coaching sessions are offered quarterly and are designed around the following focus areas:

  1. Deepening learning and reflection on topics introduced in the institute
  2. Applying learning to the local context or school building
  3. Engaging in real-time thought-partnership on educational equity and school improvement


The WULI Capstone is designed to help principals document their learning during the professional learning series. The capstone is completed in phases that mirror the key themes and outcomes of the institute. Questions for reflection and action are embedded in a design thinking process allowing participating fellows to make strong connections between the core learning and their unique school context.

Participant Insights

  • “The reading was clarifying and reinforcing. Also, the opportunity to 'meet' with other participants was helpful in making this experience better for me personally. What resonated with me is the historical and current facts about racism that help to put a perspective on how race is viewed today in the US. In the immediate future, I am happy to be back in a think tank, of sorts. When speaking specifically about the reading, it gives me another piece of information to provide credibility to conversations that I have.”
  • “I enjoyed the district sharing and I also really liked the consultancy protocol and I think that will be useful in discussing issues of equity. I think the consultancy protocol can take out the 'expert' role of leader and make it easier to discuss the problem or issue that may come up. I would like to use the consultancy protocol during our grade level meetings or during post observations when we are discussing different issues that come up at school from an equity standpoint either in developing curriculum, delivering curriculum or in working or other tasks at school.”
  • “What resonated the most for me was going through the strategies to confront race and bias every day. The reason that it resonated with me is that I like to think that interrupting bias as it occurs may be easy but according to the definition, interrupting 'when you feel strongly' or 'when it strikes you' is not enough. You can only do this if and when you do it ALL THE TIME, without exception. That is a scary thought because subconsciously, I know that I, myself may fall into a bias mindset or stereotype people/situations. So how can I say I am an 'interrupter' when I happen to be the person engaging in subconscious inequity at times? Does that make sense? My next step is to plan time/space for ongoing conversations around stereotypes, race, and bias. I want to give staff the opportunity to engage and struggle with these difficult conversations like I have. However, I do not want to 'force' everyone in at once. I will let these spaces be voluntary with the hope that a few 'sparks will ignite a fire' across the school (eventually, not right away).”

photo from a virtual meeting showing images of attendees and a presentation slide that reads: Large Group Share Out; Each small group will report out big ideas and unique thoughts. As you listen to your peers, what resonates with you as an equity leader? common themes.

image from a virtual meeting with 16 participants holding up bright-colored paintings of trees with curling branches and red backgrounds they created as part of the Institute; participants shown are Heather Reed, Kelly Smith, Jason Johnson, Jackie Wells, Tangella King, Angela Apmann, Joseph Kanke, Gregory Lundin, Joel Kaufmann, Dexter McNabb, Lee Waechter, Juan Badillo, Michael Sheean, Sylla Zarov, Catherine Loss, Camille Schroeder;


Equitable Leadership Learning

Equity focused Leadership Competencies

Cultural Competence

School Culture

School Improvement

Family and Community Engagement

WULI Program Resources

Media Coverage


For curriculum and eligibility information: 
Alisia Moutry, PhD
CEO, 4AM Consulting