Arkansas Center for Executive Leadership (ACEL) Leader-to-Leader (L2L) - Program Description


The Arkansas Center for Executive Leadership through a partnership with Arkansas Tech University and The Walton Family Foundation is pleased to host the Arkansas Leader-to-Leader (L2L) 2016-2017 Principal (VII) and Superintendent (IX) Cohorts. The L2L academy is a one-year, advanced leadership development program designed for exemplary school leaders -- superintendents and principals. The academy provides participants with opportunities for self-assessment, self-renewal, and leadership skill enhancement to help build upon existing executive leadership skills.

Throughout the L2L academy, members are challenged to look at old problems in new ways, to turn to one another for new ideas and solutions as they navigate the rapidly changing face of education. Participants are encouraged to bring local issues to the sessions for intensive, confidential review and analysis. Various solutions are then considered in a supportive and conversational setting. The objective is to provide support for the superintendents and principals in a safe, confidential space that will help to produce professional growth in the context of real-world experiences.

Dr. Merle Dickerson is the program facilitator and Executive Director of the Arkansas Center for Executive Leadership; he is the leader of each session.  

Approximately 26 participants are selected into each-the Superintendent and Principal-program annually. The awarded grant from the Walton Family Foundation will cover the cost of books, training, guest speakers, and the cost of travel to the annual Leadership Conference. Each participant’s school district will also contribute towards the cost of participation.

Given the intensive nature of L2L activities and the extensive use of group discussions and group problem solving, it is essential that all participants are in attendance at all 5 of sessions at the Center for Leadership and Learning (Russellville, AR) in addition to the Visioning Conference (held in Little Rock, AR) and Leadership Conference (held in Austin, Texas for Principals, and New York, New York for Superintendents).

All applications will be reviewed by the Arkansas Center for Executive Leadership Board to be eligible applicants must:

  • Be employed and currently serving as a Superintendent (or other district office leader) or a Principal
  • Viewed as a leader by colleagues
  • Demonstrated that you are a student of the profession
  • Support from your board or superintendent

Admission is open to all Superintendents and Principals. Efforts are made by the Board to provide for maximum diversity with regard to school size, geographical location, ethnicity and gender. Superintendents may self-nominate. Principal nominations can only be made if the Principal's Superintendent has already completed the program.  Nominations will be accepted until all available slots have been filled.  Please select the “Nomination” link in the left bar of this page to complete an online nomination form. Selected participants will be contacted via mail.  Participants will need to make a commitment to the program by July 15, 2016.  

 For additional information, please contact Ashley Williams at or via phone at 479-880-4390.