PIE Network Leadership Institute

Cohort of State & National Leaders

The Leadership Institute is a cohort-based, year long leadership opportunity focused on leading change in complex political climates. It is by far PIE Network’s most highly-rated opportunity, according to peers that have experienced it so far.


“I’ll offer the highest praise I can—I wish I could do it all over again.”

Additional details about the program, previous cohorts, and the application process are below. Please reach out to Jen if you have additional questions.

“I highly recommend this to any leader who is eager for more learning, collaboration, and space to reflect and take care of yourself as a leader, manager, and human being.”




Learn More About Leadership Institute

What makes the Leadership Institute unique?

The Leadership Institute complements other Network opportunities (which tend to focus on policy topics in education) by reaching entirely outside of education for lessons from other sectors that sharpen advocacy strategy, pushing participants to think bigger about political influence.

Each convening provides a mix of case-based discussions of political campaigns, experiential learning opportunities, and connection to expertise related to the arts of influence and political strategy.

Past participants have reflected that the relationships built among their cohorts were as powerful as the content, and that they have created meaningful connections and lasting professional relationships that have extended well beyond the three meetings.


The application period for the next cohort will open in early 2021. Please email Jen for more information.


The Leadership Institute is open to executive directors of PIE Network member and partner organizations, as well as individuals in strong “number two” positions. The experience is best suited for leaders who have distinguished expertise in advocacy, organizing, and policy in education, and are hungry for broader insights from other sectors that further sharpen their abilities as strategists and influencers. We seek a balance in each cohort across the different types of organizations and approaches to advocacy, considering the depth and complexity of experiences and perspectives applicants bring to the mix.

If there are more applicants than we can accommodate, we consider first the insights and qualifications put forth in potential participants’ applications. We also consider the balance noted above, as well as the potential ideological, gender, ethnic, and geographic diversity that a potential participant brings to the mix. (Note that organizations that have not yet participated are prioritized over those that have, if demand is high.) We also prioritize the participation of executive directors, but will ensure a mix of other roles in order to bring a range of perspectives. Finally, we seek evidence of an applicant’s commitment to being a leader within the broader Network in an ongoing way; leaders and organizations that consistently engage and actively participate in other PIE Network opportunities are considered some of the strongest applicants.


Each cohort meets over a time period of 12 to 18 months.

All costs associated with the experience (travel, hotel, etc.) will be covered by the PIE Network, thanks to the generosity of our funding partners. Participants are expected to fully invest their time and energy in each meeting.

What are people saying about the experience?

“I love the focus on cross-cutting skills. I feel this is the most unique value that PIE brings, and keeps me coming back and excited for more.”

“Out of my comfort zone and entirely worth it!”

“This was the best professional development I’ve ever had.”

“The Leadership Institute pushes leadership beyond what business school case studies tell you and beyond what is traditionally done in education advocacy organizations. I feel like I have a toolbox of ideas for approaching challenges in new ways.”

“… for me, it was the importance of taking the time to reflect and think about my own practice that was the most valuable.”

“I draw on our improv and negotiation skills weekly. …  I do so many “tough” conversations differently because of this.”

“So much of this work is about relationships: I feel like I gained solid strategies and tactics for building bridges with folks.”

“100% leaving with these relationships that will make a difference and have made a difference in my work.”

“I have already approached working with my team and everyone in my organization differently, implementing “yes, and” in my conversations, using better negotiating tactics, changing “why” to “what” and so many other best practices I’ve learned in these meetings. The tools we learn have paid immediate dividends.”