What is LEEP?

The Leading for Equity and Excellence Project (LEEP) builds the capacity of state boards of education to lead systemic equity transformation. LEEP professional learning events offer participants the opportunity to gain the skills they need to promote equity and equality through state policy development and implementation.


Why is LEEP important?

Almost daily, education policymakers are reminded of the role that race and culture play in our society, yet they often lack opportunities for open, honest dialogue about how race and culture affect teaching and learning. A mismatch between awareness and experience on these issues is one reason the education system continues to struggle to close the achievement gap and eliminate racial disparities.

With passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, the primary responsibility for ensuring educational equity shifted to state policymakers. Likewise, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) also shifted in order to sharpen its focus on equity and excellence. LEEP represents the next level of NASBE’s commitment to promote high-quality education for all students by helping state boards build their capacity to recognize and address inequities based on race and culture in meaningful, systemic ways.

State boards participating in LEEP learn to apply an equity lens to policymaking using a common vocabulary and a protocol for evaluating their equity work. Participants also increase their confidence and skill to engage in meaningful conversations about the effects of race, equity, and equality on academic achievement.


How can state board members participate in LEEP?

During the 2018 pilot year, LEEP has two channels of participation for equity leadership training: the LEEP National Cohort designed for individual board members looking for a network of colleagues to share their passion and commitment to advance equity and the DC State Board of Education Pilot. Each program provides state board members an opportunity to engage in historical thinking, develop critical consciousness, and explore principles of moral leadership. Through interactive learning tasks and thought-provoking conversations, participants increase their capacity to lead systemic equity transformation.

This year, the LEEP pilot program will have three in-person meetings in June, August, and October. The October meeting will convene members at NASBE’s Annual Conference in Denver, where they will share their work and engage in courageous conversations about equity with other association members.

In 2019, NASBE plans to convene the second LEEP National Cohort and work with state boards that are interested in receiving equity training over a period of three to five months.



LEEP learning events are designed and facilitated by Kimberly Charis, NASBE’s director of school climate, discipline, and equity. For more information, contact LEEP@nasbe.org.