Increasing Leadership Effectiveness

For more information on
this project, please contact:
Jeff Edmison
Scott Reynolds

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) seeks to increase leadership effectiveness statewide to raise school and systemic performance. In collaboration with R12CC, DESE is continuing to work on scaling the Missouri Leadership and Development System (MLDS) in order to develop and support effective school leaders across the state and throughout their careers, from aspiring principals to transformational leaders.

Currently, Missouri has approximately 2,200 principals and 1,300 assistant principals, and each year approximately 1,100 educators earn an administrator certificate, and 300 new principals are hired. In 2022–2023, MLDS facilitated the professional growth of 1,628 educators from 425 school districts, 15 charter schools, and 58 non-public schools.

DESE and R12CC are focused on supporting and evaluating MLDS, bringing coherence across school improvement efforts, and developing policy recommendations for a leadership development system for superintendents. Technical assistance also includes facilitating a superintendent executive leadership forum that provides facilitated professional learning where superintendents engage in peer-to-peer conversations to share insights on how to address timely and crucial topics and challenges.

To further support student learning and strengthen instructional leadership, R12CC is also continuing to work with DESE to implement a common formative assessment (CFA) system, focused on early literacy in grade 2. Educators need to understand where students are in their learning and be able to make timely adjustments to their instruction to advance student progress. The CFA system is a customizable tool that allows teachers to make those timely adjustments.

R12CC is assisting DESE to develop professional learning experiences, craft statewide messaging, and conduct data analysis on early literacy achievement. Doing so will lead to more educators accessing the CFA system across the state, while also increasing knowledge of how to implement the CFA system.

The long-term goal of R12CC’s assistance is to develop DESE’s capacity to address high-leverage problems of practice. In this case through MLDS and CFA, DESE is able to scale both effective leadership and instructional support across the state. 


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