Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS)



The Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS) is a comprehensive research-based program which ensures every student in Missouri will attend school with an effective, confident leader by developing, supporting, and refining the leadership capacity of all Missouri School principals.

DESE’s analysis of MLDS data shows a positive impact on principal retention. Over a three-year period, Missouri principals participating in MLDS were retained at a rate 20 percentage points higher (98%) than non-participating principals (78%) (DESE, 2022).

MLDS in Southwest Missouri meets in four different cohort groups throughout the school year. In addition to cohort learning opportunities, principals, and assistant principals in their first two years benefit from mentors trained in MLDS and paid for by DESE.

Cohort Groups meet four times a year. Typically, twice in the fall and twice in the winter/early spring:

  • MLDS 1 – first year of MLDS content. This content is appropriate for any leader no matter their years of experience. First year leaders will start here and attend one additional meeting called Critical Firsts in the summer.
  • MLDS 2 – second year of MLDS content.
  • MLDS 3 & 4 – third and fourth year of MLDS content
  • MLDS 5 & 6 – fifth and sixth year of MLDS content
  • Leadership Academy - one-year intense leadership cohort program based on MLDS content with four additional statewide conferences/network opportunities.
  • Leaders must be in their 3rd year+ and ideally have been through MLDS 1 & 2

Workshops and Trainings

The Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS) is open to building administrators (principal or assistant principal) in public or private schools in the state of Missouri. MLDS 1 & 2 cohorts meets the two-year certification requirement by ensuring each new leader has a mentor.

MLDS offers cohorts for leaders of all levels of experience at every level: elementary, middle/junior high, and high school levels. This program offers support through regional trainings which may occur in person or virtually. There is a strong focus on improving instruction and increasing a principal's skills in coaching teachers to higher levels of efficacy.

All cohorts of MLDS, other than Leadership Academy, are offered at no charge to the principal and school district.

Professional Development Calendar

Contact Information:

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Person item component: rluebbert@missouristate.edu
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