Transformational Leadership Initiative

The Transformational Leadership Initiative is an ambitious, multi-year effort designed to improve the academic performance and the overall learning environment for students in the St. Louis region.

The Human-Centered School Transformation Model has deeper learning at its core. Deeper learning challenges traditional classroom practices by involving students in highly engaging problems, projects, experiments and writing tasks that require students to work collaboratively and apply their knowledge in real world settings. Its approach to school change recognizes that many top-down, prescriptive reform efforts to micromanage school operations and classroom activities have failed. Instead, the Transformational Leadership Initiative builds the capacity of educators to transform their organizations with new approaches to leadership and deeper learning experiences for all students and educators.

“The human centered transformation work is where meaningful change happens for children, adults, and entire school communities. I firmly believe in the tenants of the approach and feel truly honored to have the opportunity to engage with such amazing educators from across the country. I am confident that our collective efforts will yield extraordinary outcomes for students and staff throughout The School District of University City.” 

Sharonica Hardin-Bartley
Superintendent, The School District of University City


During the three-year TLI training process:

  • Districts implement distributed leadership in their school community
  • Every school team is assigned a transformational coach who meets with them through the year
  • TLI uses a variety of approaches to measure impact of its work across four areas: school culture, teaching practice, student behavior and student learning outcomes.

“We are not seeking to develop cookie cutter schools. Instead we are helping leaders and their schools to explore the fundamental question, ‘What do we want to create together?’ And then, our organization supports them in developing a tailored plan using the human-centered model to nurture that vision.”

Linda Henke
Executive Director, Santa Fe Center for Transformational School Leadership


Questions? Email Victoria May: vmay@wustl.edu.

The Transformational Leadership Initiative is a partnership between school districts in St. Louis, the Institute for School Partnership, and the Santa Fe Center for Transformational School Leadership. The Initiative is funded with philanthropic support and participating school district funds.

TLI is an ambitious, multi-year effort designed to improve the academic performance and the overall learning environment for disadvantaged students in public schools in the St. Louis region.

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