Arkansas Center for Executive Leadership - Description

The Arkansas Center for Executive Leadership (ACEL) is pleased to host the Arkansas Superintendent IX and Principal VI Leader-to-Leader Program in the 2015-2016 school year. The Superintendent and Principal L2L is a one-year, advanced leadership development program designed for exemplary school Superintendents and Principals. It provides Superintendents and Principals with opportunities for self-assessment, self-renewal, and leadership skill enhancement, through monthly sessions, so they can build upon their successful executive leadership.

During the L2L process, members are challenged to look at old problems in new ways and to interact with session leaders and other participants as they examine the rapidly changing face of education and its impact on the role of the Superintendent and Principal. Participants are invited to bring local issues to the sessions for intensive, confidential review and analysis. Various solutions are then considered in a comfortable and casual setting and the discussions are open, challenging, and confidential. The objective is to provide support to the Superintendent in a safe and confidential environment that can produce genuine professional growth in the context of real-world executive leadership experiences.

The Superintendent and Principal L2L program is primarily funded by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation, and grants and in-kind support from Arkansas Tech University. It was written and endorsed by a group of Arkansas Superintendents who originally attended the Lamar University Superintendent Academy in Beaumont, Texas, and wanted to bring a similar program experience to the Superintendents and Principals of Arkansas. Arkansas Tech University, in cooperation with the Arkansas Center for Executive Leadership, administers the grant and provides oversight for this excellent Leader-to-Leader program. Dr. Merle Dickerson, Executive Director of the Arkansas Center for Executive Leadership will be our facilitator for Superintendent IX L2L and also our Principal VI L2L Sessions.

Admission into the Leader-to-Leader Program is very competitive. Approximately 55 participants are selected each year to receive scholarships in the amount of $6,500 each. Scholarships cover books, fees, training, and all other education costs including travel to New York. The participant's school district is responsible for travel within the state, some meals, lodging at Lake Point Conference Center, a one-time fee and costs associated with fees and expenses of the Superintendent and board members attending the Visioning Conference in February and the Principals attending the Leadership Conference in October.

Given the intensive nature of program activities and the extensive use of cohorts and group problem-solving techniques, we believe it is essential and beneficial that participants be in attendance at all sessions. Therefore, those accepted for admission into this program are expected to be dedicated and committed to being present for all sessions, including the New York trip in September for Superintendent participants and the Austin, TX trip for the Principal participants in October, the Visioning Conference in February (barring some major unforeseen circumstance).

To be eligible for consideration by the Admissions Committee, a nominee:

  • Must be employed and currently serving as a Superintendent of schools or Principal (or equivalent).
  • Must be viewed as a leader by his/her colleagues.
  • Must have demonstrated that he/she is a student of the profession a learner.
  • Must have the support of his/her board or Superintendent.

Admission is open to all Superintendents and Principals and an effort is made to provide for maximum diversity with regard to school size, geographic location, ethnicity, and gender. Superintendents may self-nominate. Principals are nominated by their Superintendent. Nominations will be accepted until the Admissions Committee completes its work and all scholarships are awarded. Please mail your nomination on the form provided in this packet to The Center for Leadership and Learning, 227 State Road 333 South, Russellville, AR 72802, or fax to (479)498-6075.

For additional information, please call Dr. Merle Dickerson at (479)259-3594 (cell), or you may email questions to Dr. Dickerson,


Lamar Graduates Frank Holman, LincolnTony Prothro, BentonMerle Dickerson, Van Buren
Arkansas Graduates Jerry Guess, Camden Fairview
Ex-Officios Richard Abernathy, AAEATom Wood, ADEMary B. Gunter, Arkansas Tech University